What is Disaster Mental Health?
Disaster mental health refers to mental health services for victims, first responders, and medical personnel who experience disaster. Disaster can include a wide variety of sudden, catastrophic events that cause loss of life, such as an earthquake, a terrorist attack, or even a global pandemic.
What Conditions Are Associated With Disaster Mental Health?
Traumatic experiences during disaster can produce a variety of mental health conditions that last long after danger ends. Some of these may be related to neurological changes produced by long periods of “fight or flight.”
One of the most prominent conditions associated with disaster mental health is PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.) Once thought common only in military conflict, it is now understood PTSD can come from any intense experience of danger that provokes feelings of helplessness.
PTSD can have symptoms including flashbacks, memory loss (especially in relation to the traumatic event), anxiety, depression, difficulty sleeping, nightmares, and angry outbursts. The vast majority of PTSD sufferers are nonviolent and pose no threat to others.
Anxiety and depression are typical complications from any disaster. Both adults and children may feel guilty, believing they “should have done more.” Emotional flashbacks in which the sufferer re-experiences negative emotions without “seeing” or “hearing” the event, are common.
Disaster Mental Health Recovery and Lifestyle Changes
Disaster mental health treatment often includes a combination of medication and therapy. Medication focuses on reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression. Therapy can be in a group or one-on-one setting. Its primary goal is to help a sufferer process trauma.
One of the biggest challenges in disaster mental health care is the difficulty sufferers face verbalizing their experiences. Processing the emotions that come from trauma help reduce their effect on a person’s life. Novel approaches such as art therapy help many individuals express trauma in a way that helps. Techniques like journaling may also be used.
Disaster mental health patients need to identify psychological triggers in their environment. These triggers can cause them to re-experience the emotions or sensations of a past trauma. At first, recognizing and avoiding such triggers is advisable. With professional help, it’s possible to overcome the negative associations of triggers in a controlled environment.
Disaster Mental Health Research
Disaster mental health has been a prominent concern in psychology for decades. As researchers have uncovered effects of trauma on the brain, it has become clear profound neurological changes can occur during disaster even if one is not physically harmed.
Disaster mental health research focuses on two main areas: Reduction and treatment. Reduction aims to equip at-risk populations, like police and EMTs, with coping strategies to manage trauma. Treatment focuses on the neurobiology of trauma, creating better clinical resources for disaster mental health.
Why is Further Disaster Mental Health Research Necessary?
Millions of people all around the world are affected by mental health issues arising from disaster. The lessons of disaster mental health apply to everything from the COVID-19 outbreak to individual experiences of sexual assault or other criminal violence. With that in mind, all disaster mental health research has potential to help a broad spectrum of the population.
Disaster Mental Health Clinical Trials
This list contains all disaster mental health clinical trials on record at ClinicalTrials.gov. To feature a clinical trial on our site, contact us.
- The Effectiveness of Cognitive Functional Therapy in Adults With Chronic Neck Painon October 2, 2023 at 4:00 am
Conditions: Chronic Pain Interventions: Behavioral: Cognitive Functional Therapy; Behavioral: Conventional Therapy Sponsors: European University Cyprus Recruiting
- MCT8 Deficiency Caregiver Studyon September 29, 2023 at 4:00 am
Conditions: Monocarboxylate Transporter 8 (MCT8) Deficiency; Allan-Herndon-Dudley Syndrome Sponsors: Vitaccess Ltd; Egetis Therapeutics Recruiting
- Effects of Blood Flow Restriction Training on Middle-aged People With Multiple Sclerosis.on September 29, 2023 at 4:00 am
Conditions: Sclerosis, Multiple Interventions: Other: Blood Flow Restriction training with Oclussion Cuff. Sponsors: University of Jaén Recruiting
- Examining the Function of Cs4 on Post-COVID-19 Disorderson September 26, 2023 at 4:00 am
Conditions: Long COVID Interventions: Other: Chinese medicine nutritional supplement Cs4 Sponsors: The University of Hong Kong Recruiting
- A Randomized Trial of Response to Psychopharmacotherapy According to Multimodal Serum Biomarkers in Depressionon September 26, 2023 at 4:00 am
Conditions: Major Depressive Disorder Interventions: Drug: stepwise pharamacotherapy; Drug: antidepressant monotherapy group Sponsors: Chonnam National University Hospital Recruiting
- Assessing Cognitive and Health Improvements in the Elderly Via Exercise (ACHIEVE) - Study.on September 25, 2023 at 4:00 am
Conditions: Aging; Exercise Interventions: Other: Exercise Dose-Response Sponsors: University of Jaén Recruiting
- Investigation of the Efficiency of Pain Neuroscience Education in Patients With Chronic Pain After Breast Cancer Surgeryon September 25, 2023 at 4:00 am
Conditions: Breast Cancer Interventions: Other: Pain Neuroscience Education; Other: Biomedical Pain Education; Other: Standard Physiotherapy Program Sponsors: Hacettepe University Recruiting
- Progressive Relaxation Training Effect On Pain, Activity And Social Participation In Women With Tension-Type Headache And Migraineon September 22, 2023 at 4:00 am
Conditions: Pain, Chronic; Migraine Disorders; Tension-Type Headache Interventions: Other: PROGRESSIVE RELAXATION TRAINING Sponsors: Hacettepe University Recruiting
- Effects of Progressive Exercise Method Using Balance Board in Recreational Athletes With Functional Ankle Instabilityon September 18, 2023 at 4:00 am
Conditions: Ankle Injuries Interventions: Other: Game-Based Exercises Sponsors: Acibadem University Recruiting
- Self-induced Cognitive Trance for Chronic Pain Managementon September 14, 2023 at 4:00 am
Conditions: Chronic Pain Interventions: Behavioral: Self-induced cognitive trance Sponsors: University of Liege Recruiting
- MPS (RaDiCo Cohort) (RaDiCo-MPS)on September 14, 2023 at 4:00 am
Conditions: Mucopolysaccharidosis I; Mucopolysaccharidosis II; Mucopolysaccharidosis III; Mucopolysaccharidosis IV; Mucopolysaccharidosis VI; Mucopolysaccharidosis VII; Mucopolysaccharidosis IX; Multiple Sulfatase Deficiency Disease Sponsors: Institut National de la Santé Et de la Recherche Médicale, France Recruiting
- Effectiveness of Multisystemic Therapy for Adolescents From Families With Intellectual Disabilitieson September 13, 2023 at 4:00 am
Conditions: Behavioural Problems Interventions: Behavioral: Multisystemic therapy; Behavioral: Multisystemic therapy - intellectual disabilities Sponsors: De Viersprong; Stichting tot Steun; Koraal; Prisma; MST-Netherlands/Belgium; Radboud University Medical Center Recruiting
With more people experiencing disaster, stigma around seeking disaster mental health treatment is beginning to fade. Disaster mental health clinical resources will depend on active clinical trials that uncover further information about the brain’s trauma response. Further medical research may help millions of people reclaim their sense of stability.