Effects of Traumatic Stress after Mass Violence, Terror, or Disaster
Normal reactions to an abnormal situation

It is important to help survivors recognize the normalcy of most stress  reactions to disaster. Mild to moderate stress reactions in the emergency and early post-impact phases of disaster are highly prevalent because survivors (and their families, community members and rescue workers) accurately recognize the grave danger in disaster (Young et al., 1998).

Although stress reactions may seem ‘extreme’, and cause distress, they generally do not become chronic problems. Most people recover fully from even moderate stress reactions within 6 to 16 months (Baum & Fleming, 1993; Green et al., 1994; La Greca et al., 1996; Steinglass & Gerrity, 1990). (From Disaster Mental Health Response Handbook, NSW Health, 2000, p. 27.)