Victims of natural disasters are at risk for dementia more rapidly than others.A recent study from the United States showed a sense of loss is the biggest factor for dementia victims of natural disasters.
“Post-disaster, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder that is most worrying. But a group of parents and the elderly also experience cognitive decline, which leads to dementia,” said Hiroyuki Hikichi, researchers from Harvard University Boston, quoted fromReuters,
Hikichi do research to 3,556 survivors of the tsunami and earthquake in Natori, Japan that occurred in 2011. This study is unique because Hikichi have data about the population of cognitive function before and after disasters.
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The study called the 38 percent of participants lost relatives and friends.59 Percent homeless shelter because it was destroyed by an earthquake.
Before the tsunami, only 4 percent of the elderly population Iwanuma who have symptoms of dementia.However, 2.5 years after the disaster, participants who had dementia symptoms increased to 12 percent.
In addition, it was found also the fact that the survivors be more susceptible to depression.This is evidenced by the decline in the prevalence of people who do not say hello to her neighbors, from the previous 1.5 percent to 2.9 percent.
Hikichi said depression and lack of social interaction is the main factor participants experienced cognitive decline.On the other hand, the risk of dementia increases because relatives who can talk to dead.
“In addition, it may be the removal of all temporary shelters during disaster makes people lose contact with the neighbors, and led to a decline in cognitive function due to no interaction,” explained Hikichi again.
Dr. Nova Riyanti Yusuf SpKJ said natural disasters could increase the risk of mental disorders by 20 percent on refugees.To that end, he stressed the importance of Psychological First Ais (PFA) in emergency response.It is said dr Noriyu, as he is familiarly called, PFA is a first-line psychosocial support after critical events.
PFA principle, he added, it is natural, supportive, able to listen without forcing talk, not carelessly told the victims recounted the events, assessing needs and concerns, ensure basic physical needs, provide and mobilize social support, and provide essential information.
“PFA help survivors (victims) reduces psychological wounds, develop adaptive functioning and psychological recovery accelerates. PFA also not only gives a sense of security and calm to the individual but the community around them and build engagement and encouraging,” said Dr. Noriyu.