Another PTSD Time-Bomb – The Japan Earthquakes / Tsunamis

  • Of course we must all spare a thought for the thousands of people in Japan who have been affected by the tragic events of the past few days.  This is one of those disasters that will be felt for many many years to come.  Everyone in Japan will be touched by this horrible disaster.  They will either know of someone in their family who has died or is missing, or at the very least will know of someone who will be battling to come to terms with the aftermath of these events.

    The international aid effort is gathering pace.  Offers of assistance flooding in from all corners of the world from any country that is able to offer it.  Clearly the news of the next few days will be dominated by the events in Japan as they unfold, especially the continuing efforts to reign in the nuclear reactors at Fukushima Daiichi.  Occasionally we will hear of a heart warming story, for example, the gentleman in his sixties that was rescued from 10 miles out to sea off the remnants of his roof.  Although this story is itself laced with tragedy as he had lost his wife to the angry waters.

    So we will shake our heads and look with disbelief at the media coverage.  The rescue teams from all over the world will race to save a life here or there.  The images of pain, suffering and injury will be beamed into our living rooms and as always, those injured with broken bone or loss of limb will receive the care and attention they need and rightfully so.

    But also spare a thought for the mental aftermath.  Clearly these events will have set up the perfect conditions for PTSD and Psychological Trauma to take hold.  As always the symptoms of such trauma may lay dormant for many many years.  Only surfacing when something in the individual’s environment can be perceived to resemble these awful events.  Not only will the people affected by the actual disaster be open to PTSD but also the people from the international community who have raced to help them in their coming days of need.

    As these events continue to unfold, I hope that like anyone with visible physical injury, everyone involved gets the help they need in the coming years to address any psychological demons these events arouse from slumber.

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