Publicatie datum

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

Ouden, D.J. den, IJzermans, J. Health effects after an explosion in victims seeking mental health care. European Journal of Psychotherapy and Counselling: 2003, 4 193-194. Abstract: VIII European Conference on Traumatic Stress 22-25 May 2003 in Berlin, Germany.
Objectives: On May 13th 2000, a fireworks-factory exploded in a residential area in The Netherlands, killing 22 people and injuring 947 others. Soon an extensive program was launched by the Dutch government which was aimed at studying the somatic and psychological consequences regarding possible health effects of the victims. Our study focuses on the effects of the explosion among those who sought help in an ambulatory mental health institution. It is expected that victims suffering from psychological distress report more symptoms and pay more visits to their General Practitioner (GP) than those who did not search for mental help. Methods: Those who were registered at the ambulatory mental health institution were studied. Some of them were monitored in the general practice as well. Information about their contacts was collected retrospectively (18 months before the explosion) and prospectively (30 months after the explosion). Reported symptoms are compared between those treated in the institute for ambulatory mental health care and a control-group. Results: A total of 1303 people visited the institute for ambulatory mental health care within two years after the disaster took place. Of this group 40% were diagnosed with PTSD or partial PTSD. 240 persons (18%) were monitored in general practice and information about their contacts was collected. In the forthcoming months analysis of the reported symptoms will take place. More detailed results will be presented at the conference. Conclusions: This study intends to provide more insight in the relationship between psychological symptoms and somatic complaints, concerning PTSD as well as unexplained physical symptoms (UPS). Persons who are treated in ambulatory mental health care do visit their GP before and after this treatment. Longitudinal research learns more about persons who are at risk for PTSD or UPS and about the sequelae of symptoms caused by a traumatic event. (aut.ref.)