The Psychology Of War

First Lady Laura Bush says she thinks the constant news alerts about terror are frightening people. At the same time, she echoed advice from the Homeland Security Department. Its that people should stock a few days' supply of food and water, and have a radio so they can keep in constant contact with the news.

Mental health experts say fear goes too far when it disrupts family or work ties. And some people say the color-coded terrorist alert system brings back memories of the "duck and cover drills" of the past. In the 1950s, elementary students used to have to crouch under desks, to prepare for a possible nuclear attack.

The Red Cross has even recommended people buy duct tape and plastic to prepare for a possible chemical threat. But many critics say if you seal a room tight enough in order to keep out chemicals, you'll die from a lack of oxygen.

Eduardo Lelli is a behavioral counselor who works with patients who suffer from extreme fear. He says there's a fine line between emergency preparedness and panic. "Once you do the room and imagine inside that room, fear is gonna run and you are gonna spread messages and behaviors that are beyond the normal."

Lelli also says that's especially true when it comes to talking to your children about war. "If the adults are out of balance and the fear is too much, the kids will receive the anxiety and they will cope in the same way with panic and anxiety."

Lelli says it's one thing to be aware of what's going on in the world, but it's another thing to obsess about it.