Publicatie datum

Health effects after an explosion: victims seeking mental health care.

Ouden, D.J. den, IJzermans, C.J. Health effects after an explosion: victims seeking mental health care. European Journal of Public Health: 2003, 13(4 sup) 134. Abstract. 11th Annual Eupha Meeting 'Globalisation and Health in Europe: Harmonising Public Health Practices'. Rome, Italy, 20-22 November 2003.
Background: On May 13th 2000, a firework-factory exploded in a residential area in The Netherlands, killing 22 people and injuring 947 others. The tragedy was declared a national disaster. Soon a special program was set up by the Dutch government aimed at studying the somatic and psychological health-consequences for the victims. An ambulatory
mental health institution, intended for victims (residents, passers-by and rescue-workers and their relatives) of the disaster was established shortly after the incident took place. Aim: The objective is to study those who are registered at the ambulatory mental health institution and to monitor their (somatic) complaints in the practice of the general practitioner (GP) before, during and after their treatment. Methods: Our study focuses on those who were registered at the ambulatory mental health institution within three years after the disaster took place (n=1518). 670 (44%) were monitored in the general practice as well. The GP’s delivered information about contacts which were collected retrospectively (from 16 months before the explosion) and prospectively (till 36 months after the explosion). Results: 60% of those treated in the institution were diagnosed with PTSD or partial PTSD. At their GP, 26% of the symptoms presented, were considerate medically unexplained physical symptoms, 24% covered psycho-social problems, 16% comprised chronic illnesses and 10% of the symptoms were mobility impairments. Furthermore, relatively more psycho-social symptoms were reported to the GP during treatment at the ambulatory mental health institution. Conclusions: This longitudinal study provides more insight into the relationship between psychological symptoms and somatic complaints, such as PTSD and medically unexplained physical symptoms (MUPS). Additionally, more information can be obtained about persons who are at risk for PTSD or MUPS and about the sequelae of symptoms caused by a traumatic event. (aut. ref.)