This study reports the clinical psychiatric presentations and post-traumatic symptoms among 525 survivors at Yu-Chyr District in Nantou County who sought psychiatric service in the first month following the devastating earthquake that struck the central area of Taiwan. All subjects received psychiatric interviews and assessments using the 12-item Chinese Health Questionnaire (CHQ-12) and a checklist for post-traumatic symptoms. The most common psychiatric symptoms reported were insomnia, palpitations, nervousness, and dizziness with headache. Eleven percent of the subjects reported having thought of death or having suicidal ideation. The mean score on the CHQ-12 was 6.43 (S.D.=2.89). The rate of probable psychiatric morbidity as defined by a CHQ-12 score ≥3 was 89.9%. Post-traumatic symptoms were very prevalent, particularly symptoms of re-experiencing the earthquake and hyper-arousal. Factors significantly associated with high psychiatric morbidity were being female, serious destruction of property and house, and personality characteristics of nervousness and obsessiveness. Findings of this study suggest that early psychiatric intervention, including pharmacological treatment for acute stress disorder, is indicated during the early stages following a disastrous earthquake.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Biological Psychiatry