Scientists reveal significant mental disorders in a Spanish community after severe flood

July 27, 2017
Credit: University of Granada

A study conducted by an international team of professionals from the Health Management Field of Northern Almeria (Área de Gestión Sanitaria Norte de Almería), as well as from the Universities of Granada, Castilla-La Mancha, Málaga and Cambridge has for the first time associated the emergence of mental disorders in a population after severe flooding.

Their work, published in the journal Public Health, collected the results of a project conducted after severe floods occurred in Eastern Almeria [Spain] in September of 2012, an area that was left severely affected by the storm.

In order to carry out this work, the researchers first conducted a study of extreme rainfalls from 1935 to 2012, with the help of a geographic information system, which showed extremely high precipitation occurring in 2012.

The objective of this study was to determine the incidence of symptoms in this population following exposure to severe torrential rainfalls and a large flood. To this end, a team of primary care doctors coordinated by Virginia Gil Aguilar interviewed those seen in primary care in the affected area.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a condition that arises as a delayed or late response to a stressful event or an extremely life-threatening or catastrophic situation (short or long).

Lead author Andrés Fontalba said that the incidence of increased considerably after the . He added that these can persist after the event, highlighting the importance of planning and efficient responses.

The researchers found that the factor with the greatest impact on post-traumatic stress disorder in the community was the economic loss related to the disaster. Juan Pedro Arrebola, researcher from the University of Granada and the Biosanitary Research Institute of Granada and co-author of this study, indicated that this type of study is very important in identifying groups that are especially vulnerable to these catastrophes, and helps establish more suitable preventive measures.

The researchers noted that the key is focusing on possible preventive and intervention procedures. Not surprisingly, reforestation measures have been the most widely used methods to control floods and diminish sediments deposited by the water basins affected by extreme precipitation events.

Trees facilitate the interception and infiltration of water in the soil and diminish runoff. Given all of this and taking into account the effect that floods have on mental health, these are more than appropriate measures to mitigate the effects of flooding.

Explore further: Child abuse contributes the most to mental health problems in the Canadian Armed Forces

More information: A. Fontalba-Navas et al. Incidence and risk factors for post-traumatic stress disorder in a population affected by a severe flood, Public Health (2017). DOI: 10.1016/j.puhe.2016.12.015

Related Stories

Child abuse contributes the most to mental health problems in the Canadian Armed Forces

March 16, 2016
Among the mental health disorders reported in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) in 2013, 8.7% of the burden of illness was attributed to Afghanistan-related military service while 28.7% was attributed to past child abuse experiences. ...

Depression risk following natural disaster can be predicted via pupil dilation

May 23, 2017
Pupil dilation could identify which individuals are at greatest risk for depression following disaster-related stress, and help lead to targeted interventions, according to new research from Binghamton University, State University ...

Refugees with PTSD regulate stress differently

March 15, 2017
New Michigan State University research has found that refugees diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder regulate stress differently than those who don't have the disorder, but may have experienced similar suffering.

Traumatic brain injuries leave women prone to mental health problems

April 3, 2017
Traumatic brain injuries affect the body's stress axis differently in female and male mice, according to research presented at the Endocrine Society's 99th annual meeting, ENDO 2017, in Orlando, Fla. The results could help ...

Majority of hardest hit populations excluded from trauma research

February 21, 2014
New study reveals just over 12 percent of traumatic stress studies published in 2012 were conducted in low-to-middle income countries (LMICs), where 83 percent of the world's population lives, and where risk of experiencing ...

Witnessing fear in others can physically change brain, scientists say

January 4, 2017
Scientists at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute have discovered that observing fear in others may change how information flows in the brain.

Recommended for you

Communicating in a foreign language takes emotion out of decision making

August 16, 2017
If you could save the lives of five people by pushing another bystander in front of a train to his death, would you do it? And should it make any difference if that choice is presented in a language you speak, but isn't your ...

Precision medicine opens the door to scientific wellness preventive approaches to suicide

August 15, 2017
Researchers have developed a more precise way of diagnosing suicide risk, by developing blood tests that work in everybody, as well as more personalized blood tests for different subtypes of suicidality that they have newly ...

US antidepressant use jumps 65 percent in 15 years

August 15, 2017
(HealthDay)—The number of Americans who say they've taken an antidepressant over the past month rose by 65 percent between 1999 and 2014, a new government survey finds.

Child's home learning environment predicts 5th grade academic skills

August 15, 2017
Children whose parents provide them with learning materials like books and toys and engage them in learning activities and meaningful conversations in infancy and toddlerhood are likely to develop early cognitive skills that ...

Obesity and depression are entwined, yet scientists don't know why

August 15, 2017
About 15 years ago, Dr. Sue McElroy, a psychiatrist in Mason, Ohio, started noticing a pattern. People came to see her because they were depressed, but they frequently had a more visible ailment as well: They were heavy.

Givers really are happier than takers

August 15, 2017
(HealthDay)—Generosity really is its own reward, with the brain seemingly hardwired for happiness in response to giving, new research suggests.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.