Katrina's Victims May Have To Deal With Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
A doctor with the National Institute of Mental Health discusses how some of the victims of Hurricane Katrina may develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder — and how they can overcome the effects of the condition.
Akinso:It will be months, maybe even years, before the full extent of the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina is known. For those who survived the onslaught, it will take more than the replacement of material things before they can fully recover. Dr. Farris Tuma, Chief of the Traumatic Stress Disorders Research Program at the National Institute of Mental Health, says Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder will be an ordeal that many of the victims will have to cope with as they deal with the hurricane's aftermath.
Tuma: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders or PTSD is an often debilitating mental health condition, that typically develops in a small percentage of people after the exposure to a very terrifying event or an event in which sort of a grave physical harm is encountered or threatened, including this like hurricanes.
Akinso:Some of the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder include flashbacks of the traumatic event, problems with sleep, and emotional detachment. Doctor Tuma believes that people posses tremendous resilience and can, with help, overcome the effects of PTSD.
Tuma: The good news is that works supported by the National Institute on Mental Health, have developed treatment for people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Typically these include, the use of some medications that can bring relief from some of the very distressing and problematic symptoms, and their often combined with what are called cognitive and behavioral treatment. These are talking therapies, that give people the skills to manage the kind of upsetting, the unwanted thoughts that they have.
Akinso:To learn more about PTSD visit www.nimh.nih.gov. And to learn more about how the National Institutes of Health, along with the United States Department of Health and Human Services is involved in assisting the victims of Hurricane Katrina, log on to www.nih.gov. This is Wally Ak inso, at the National Institutes of Health Bethesda, Maryland.
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Wally Akinso
Sound Bite: Dr. Farris Tuma
Topic: Hurricane Katrina, Mental Health