January 2000 Psych Bytes
RELOCATION STRESS: THE WARNING SIGNS
By Alan Solomon, Ph.D.
Related Articles by Alan Solomon, Ph.D.:
January 2000 - Article of the Month THE STRESSES OF RELOCATION
February 2000 - Psych Bytes COPING WITH THE STRESS OF RELOCATION
There are many signs of danger that a family member is experiencing
significant stress that requires attention. Occasional difficulties, and
even more regular difficulties for awhile during the initial adjustment to
the relocation, can be expected. All of us would find the adjustments
discussed above to be challenging and sometimes overwhelming, especially at
first. However, it would be a good idea to consider a professional
consultation if any of the following occur for more than 2-3 months:
- Any significant change in a family member's usual patterns of behavior
or attitudes; for example, a usually cheerful, spirited child becomes
combative, argumentative, sullen; an organized, energetic adult becomes
distracted, poorly organized, and lethargic.
- Changes in sleep patterns: difficulty falling asleep, middle of the
night awakening, or sleeping too much.
- Changes in eating patterns: weight gain or loss of more than ten percent
of body weight.
- Anxiety: increased worry beyond usual levels and areas of concern,
preoccupation with small details that seem unimportant, ritualistic
behavior that someone insists upon to reduce tension, or anxiety attacks
(panic, heart palpitations, shortness of breath), refusal to leave the home
or venture outside of areas that felt safe previously.
- Increased use of alcohol or medications to reduce anxiety,
sleeplessness, physical pain that is repeated, persistent, and ongoing;
this is an indication of efforts to self-medicate to deal with tension or
- Any change in a child's usual pattern of school performance beyond some
initial period of adjustment: deterioration in grades, lack of usual
preparation or completing assignments, less interest in school, increased
struggles with adults/teachers.
- Any family member having more social difficulty than their usual
patterns of shyness or initial discomfort in new surroundings: withdrawal,
avoidance of social interaction, reluctance to engage new people and
develop new friends.
- Other signs of depression: in addition to sleep and/or eating
difficulties, loss of energy, loss of interest in usual activities, sad or
irritable mood, feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness, loss of sexual
interest, any thoughts of suicide.
So You're Going Overseas; J. Stewart Black, Ph.D. & Hal B. Gregersen,
Ph.D.; Global Business Publishers; 1998.
Moving Your Family Overseas; Rosalind Kalb & Penelope Welch; Intercultural
Press, Inc., 1992.
Women's Guide to Overseas Living; Nancy J. Piet-Pelon & Barbara Hornby;
Intercultural Press, Inc.; 1992.
Capitalizing of the Global Workforce; Michael S. Scheel & Charlene Marmer S.
Solomon; Irwin Professional Publishing; 1997
The Art of Crossing Cultures; Craig Storti; Intercultural Press, Inc; 1989.
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