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What's Going Around: Anxiety/PTSD

November 7, 2011

The 5.8 magnitude earthquake that rocked Louisa County in August is leaving behind more than just structural damage.

Dr. Phyllis Montellese at Spring Creek Family Medicine says some people are experiencing anxiety following the earthquake and aftershocks.

The quake in Mineral destroyed several homes, two schools and caused millions of dollars worth of damage. Dr. Montellese says a normal time period for the anxiety is one month, but some have anxiety longer. Those individuals may develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and need further evaluation and treatment.

Symptoms include intrusive thoughts, nightmares, sleep disturbance, hyper vigilance and flashbacks.

Most cases develop soon after the event, but it can take as long as six months to develop PTSD. Only one out of three patients have resolution at one year, and at 10 years one out of three are still symptomatic.

When it comes to treatment, anti-depressants and cognitive therapy work well. To prevent anxiety Dr. Montellese recommends talking about the event, sharing your experiences and avoiding drugs like alcohol as an escape.

A reminder about the earthquake, you may want to check your chimneys and smoke/carbon monoxide detectors. Chimneys could have cracks which could lead to a fire.

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