The deadly Coronavirus epidemic continues to spread in my state of California and throughout the country. Medical experts have clearly identified the reason that the epidemic is getting out of control is that a significant number of people are not listening to the medical experts and are not using facial masks, keeping social distancing […]
The following is an extended version of a talk given by Dr. Michael Blumenfield at the World Psychiatric Meeting in Madrid Spain on September 15, 2014 Introductory Case : I would like to start off with a case history The patient is a 21 year old woman who has some paralysis in the right upper […]
More than 150,000 people have died in the recent devastating earthquake in Haiti. There is fear, anxiety, depression and tremendous psychological pain. The uncertainty about the future will intensify these emotional reactions. Most likely the initial help by mental health professionals will be to assist the stunned people in getting food, shelter and information about the whereabouts of their loved ones. Psychiatrists may write prescriptions for general medical conditions or even assist in emergency surgery. There also is a need for the authorities to provide “risk communication” of truthful information. Death notifications need to be done skillfully. Mental health professionals can be helpful in training for these tasks. In the immediate aftermath of a disaster, people may deny the reality of what has happened. There will be grieving by survivors for the many people who perished. Grief after unexpected violent death especially when it includes children can be prolonged and complicated with additional emotional problems including alcohol and drug problems. At least half of the survivors will have some symptoms of PTSD. There are various forms of mental health interventions which may be helpful. The psychological effect of such a disaster can also impact on the secondary victims which include all rescue and medical personnel as well as members of the media. Psychiatrists and other mental health professionals will play an important role in helping the people of Haiti to recover from this ordeal.