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Seishin Shinkeigaku Zasshi. 2013;115(5):499-504.

[Effects of psychological distress due to the Great East Japan Earthquake, tsunami, Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant disasters on psychiatric symptoms in patients with mental disorders: observational studies in Tochigi].

[Article in Japanese]

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Jichi Medical University.



The Great East Japan Earthquake and subsequent tsunami of March 11, 2011 severely damaged a widespread region of northeastern Japan. Consequently, the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant experienced a level seven 3 reactors melted down, which released a large amount of radioactive materials into the air. Due to the structural damage and radiation leaks, the victims are facing prolonged psychological distress.


Eighty-two subjects with mental disorders who made their initial visit during the first 4 months after the earthquake and one hundred and ninety-four subjects with mental disorders who had been admitted during the first one year after the earthquake to the Jichi Medical University Hospital, which is located at the edge of the disaster-stricken region, were recruited for this study. Enrolled participants were assessed according to ICD-10. A questionnaire survey was employed to evaluate the severity of psychological distress and total amount of damage.


The conditions of 22% of the outpatients had been worsened by the psychological distress related to the earthquake. Seven percent of the patients who had been hospitalized showed marked exacerbations due to the psychological distress associated with the disaster.


It is of note that the exacerbation of psychiatric symptoms due to the disaster was evident among patients with mental disorders who lived even at the edge of the disaster area (i. e., subject to an earthquake intensity of 5 upper and 150 km from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant). The results suggest that the close follow-up of disaster victims with mental disorders is of critical importance.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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