Events such as earthquakes are followed by significant psychiatric morbidity due to the enormous damage caused to life, health, property, and other resources in the affected area. In October 2005, a devastating earthquake occurred in Kashmir in India. A team of mental health professionals visited the earthquake stricken area to provide mental health services five weeks after of the event.
The team conducted clinics at >30 sites in different villages in the area. This paper describes the mental health problems encountered in those communities.
All patients seen in the clinics had their houses destroyed by the earthquake.Nearly one-fourth had suffered serious physical injuries and 12% had lost one of their family members. Common psychiatric diagnoses included adjustment disorders (39.6%), depressive episode (22.6%), and other stress disorders (21.8 %). Only 10 (3.3%) patients were found to suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), though PTSD-like symptoms were reported by more than two-thirds of the patients.
Adjustment disorders, depression, other stress reactions, and PTSD-like symptoms were the common mental health problems five to six weeks following an earthquake.