PTSD, Depression, Anxiety Seen Among Tsunami Survivors

Adults, children who survived the December 2004 tsunami show elevated rates of mental health problems

TUESDAY, Aug. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Adults and children who survived the December 2004 tsunami in Thailand are likely to experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety, according to two new studies in the Aug. 2 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Frits van Griensven, Ph.D., of the Thailand Ministry of Public Health-U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Collaboration in Nonthaburi, Thailand, and colleagues report PTSD prevalence rates of 7 percent to 12 percent among displaced and non-displaced adults in the Thai provinces of Phang Nga, Krabi and Phuket eight weeks after the disaster. There were even higher prevalence rates of depression and anxiety among affected individuals. The prevalence rates decreased at nine-month follow-up, but they were still evident.

In a second study, Warunee Thienkrua, M.Sc., who is also a member of the Thailand-CDC collaboration, and colleagues report an increase in rates of depressive symptoms and PTSD among children aged 7 to 14 in tsunami-affected areas. Prevalence rates did not decrease significantly over time.

The next step is to develop appropriate interventions, Derrick Silove, M.D. and Richard Bryant, Ph.D., of the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, write in an accompanying editorial. Stabilizing the social environment and creating opportunities for survivors to resume their livelihoods and take control of their lives may be the best therapy for the community as a whole, the editorialists suggest.

Abstract
Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)
Abstract
Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)
Editorial

Physician's Briefing