National Traumas Can Hit All Americans Hard

"I think something happened this September on the anniversary of Sept. 11, particularly here in New York where we feel it so deeply, and that coincided with what was happening in New Orleans," he said. "The forces of nature and the forces of man affected us very deeply."

Despite the distance in time and location, Gordon said, "A lot has suddenly been taken from us, and we feel powerless at the moment."

Taking action just may be the cure for such sadness, according to clinical psychologist Dr. Phil McGraw. "It's the helplessness that causes people to feel so much stress and anxiety," he says.

The television host and author recommends getting involved -- either by raising money, collecting clothes and goods or joining community projects.

Bob Brown originally reported this story on Sept. 24, 2005, for the ABC News special, "Hurricane Rita: Surviving the Storm."

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