Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Psychiatry study reveals need to identify, triage, and treat mental health disorders after disasters

Date:
August 6, 2013
Source:
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Summary:
Mental health services should be integrated into disaster response as part of emergency services planning, according to a new study by UT Southwestern Medical Center psychiatrists who completed an exhaustive review of articles on the aftereffects of disasters on mental health.

Mental health services should be integrated into disaster response as part of emergency services planning, according to a new study by UT Southwestern Medical Center psychiatrists who completed an exhaustive review of articles on the aftereffects of disasters on mental health.

Related Articles


The researchers sifted through more than 1,000 articles, reviewing more than 200 that showed disasters can exacerbate existing problems and generate new disorders. Many in the population will experience a natural disaster during their lifetime, while human-made disasters -- such as terrorism and airplane crashes -- can add to that burden.

"Adverse mental health outcomes may not be as apparent as are physical injuries such as broken bones, bleeding, and other obvious trauma. But our review clearly shows that mental injuries are prevalent and require a similar system for identifying, triaging and treating these individuals, just as you would those with physical injuries," said Dr. Carol North, professor of psychiatry at UT Southwestern, and senior author of the study publishing in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The Aug. 7 issue focuses on violence and human rights.

For example, she said, it is important to distinguish between those who are experiencing distress -- which nearly everyone does in a disaster -- from psychiatric disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) so that people can be treated appropriately. PTSD is the most common disorder associated with most disasters, with nearly 1 in every 3 people who are directly exposed to severe disasters showing signs of PTSD and nearly one-fourth showing signs of major depressive disorder, the review showed.

The review also found that people at greatest risk for mental health issues are women, people with pre-existing disorders, those lacking adequate social services, and those already stressed. Severity of exposure was an additional factor that mental health responders could use to help pinpoint who needs help. Researchers found that people with more intense reactions were more likely to accept mental health referrals than those with less intense reactions to a disaster.

Other findings included: • Nine of 10 people are likely to experience trauma in their lifetimes; • As many as 40 percent of distressed individuals had pre-existing psychiatric disorders; • Between 11 percent and 38 percent of distressed individuals evaluated at shelters and family-assistance centers after disasters have stress-related and adjustment disorders; and • Disorders included bereavement, major depressive disorders, and substance abuse disorders.

"In addition to developing a consistent and integrated system for identifying, triaging, and treating people, more evidence-based research is needed to determine which treatments are most effective," said Dr. North, who is a member of the emergency medicine's section on homeland security at UT Southwestern and director of the Program in Trauma and Disaster at the VA North Texas Health Care System. "While there is evidence to support treatments for patients with active psychiatric disorders, interventions such as psychological first aid, psychological debriefing, crisis counseling, and psychoeducation for distressed individuals have not been adequately evaluated to determine whether they help or hurt in disaster settings."

Dr. Betty Pfefferbaum, Chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, also contributed to the review.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by UT Southwestern Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

UT Southwestern Medical Center. "Psychiatry study reveals need to identify, triage, and treat mental health disorders after disasters." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 August 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130806165926.htm>.
UT Southwestern Medical Center. (2013, August 6). Psychiatry study reveals need to identify, triage, and treat mental health disorders after disasters. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130806165926.htm
UT Southwestern Medical Center. "Psychiatry study reveals need to identify, triage, and treat mental health disorders after disasters." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130806165926.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins