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Earthquakes may lead to a reaction to severe stress and adjustment disorders (RSSAD). On September 7, 19, and 23, 2017, Mexico was struck by many severe earthquakes. The aim of this study was to examine whether there was an increase in the number of consultations and RSSAD in a psychiatric emergency department in Mexico City after these earthquakes.
We studied retrospectively the diagnosis and triage assessment from a Mexican psychiatric emergency department database from September 1 to November 30, 2017, and analyzed RSSAD and the number of consultations after the earthquakes.
A total of 1,811 psychiatric emergency consultations were registered from the period of study. A total of 141 consultations represented RSSAD. There was a significant increase of RSSAD after the September 23, 2017, earthquake. The triage assessment revealed that the urgency of the consultations was higher immediately after the earthquakes.
Natural disasters, such as earthquakes, may trigger diverse RSSAD leading to increased emergency consultations, especially when those disasters are repetitive. Mental health professionals should be adequately trained and sensitized for possible acute disaster victims. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2019;13:686–690).
A study conducted as part of the development of the Eleventh International Classification of Mental Disorders for Primary Health Care (ICD-11 PHC) provided an opportunity to test the relationships among depressive, anxious and somatic symptoms in PHC.
Primary care physicians participating in the ICD-11 PHC field studies in five countries selected patients who presented with somatic symptoms not explained by known physical pathology by applying a 29-item screening on somatic complaints that were under study for bodily stress disorder. Patients were interviewed using the Clinical Interview Schedule-Revised and assessed using two five-item scales that measure depressive and anxious symptoms. Structural models of anxious-depressive symptoms and somatic complaints were tested using a bi-factor approach.
A total of 797 patients completed the study procedures. Two bi-factor models fit the data well: Model 1 had all symptoms loaded on a general factor, along with one of three specific depression, anxiety and somatic factors [x2 (627) = 741.016, p < 0.0011, RMSEA = 0.015, CFI = 0.911, TLI = 0.9]. Model 2 had a general factor and two specific anxious depression and somatic factors [x2 (627) = 663.065, p = 0.1543, RMSEA = 0.008, CFI = 0.954, TLI = 0.948].
These data along with those of previous studies suggest that depressive, anxious and somatic symptoms are largely different presentations of a common latent phenomenon. This study provides support for the ICD-11 PHC conceptualization of mood disturbance, especially anxious depression, as central among patients who present multiple somatic symptoms.