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Compr Ther. 1990 Dec;16(12):3-9.

Post-traumatic stress disorder in disaster survivors.

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1
Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO.

Abstract

In spite of the difficulties inherent in the study of traumatic stress in disaster victims, the benefit of obtaining more knowledge on the subject is potentially great, especially considering the numbers of individuals affected. Recent estimates of the frequency of world-wide traumatic events have determined that almost two million households annually experience damages and/or injuries from fire, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes alone. The population that is at risk is expected to grow exponentially with our expanding technology, making it even more vital to acquire knowledge to help the growing number of future disaster victims. Additionally, disaster research can contribute to a better understanding of PTSD and human coping processes that can be generalized to more ordinary stress situations. In the meantime, survivors of major catastrophes who experience acute symptoms of PTSD such as insomnia, nightmares, and jumpiness should be observed for nonresolution of symptoms over time, especially if there is a premorbid history of psychopathology or character problems. Otherwise, survivors may benefit from reassurance that PTSD symptoms are common in the short-term postdisaster period and that they can usually be expected to dissipate with time.

PMID:
2076600
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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