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PTSD, comorbidity with anxiety prevalent in flood survivors

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Flood survivors suffer from both post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and its comorbidity with anxiety, according to a recent study. Additionally, personality traits and the intensity of the flood appear to influence the extent of the symptoms.

In the cross-sectional study, 325 adults (mean age 57.79 years) who experienced the 1998 Dongting Lake flood were randomly selected and made to accomplish self-report questionnaires on anxiety, PTSD and personality traits, among others. Those with psychiatric disorders before the flood, schizophrenia or mental retardation were excluded.

In the entire cohort, 11 individuals had PTSD only while 10 had anxiety only. The comorbidity of PTSD and anxiety was reported in 20 participants, while the remaining 284 had neither disorder.

The resulting prevalence rates were 9.54 (n=31), 9.23 (n=30) and 6.15 (n=20) percent for PTSD, anxiety and the comorbidity, respectively.

Multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed that the loss of a relative was significantly associated with PTSD (odds ratio [OR], 11.45; 95 percent CI, 3.23 to 66.44; p=0.003) and comorbidity with anxiety (OR, 9.13; 1.36 to 61.30; p=0.023).

Injury to the body and damage to houses were also significantly associated with PTSD only (OR, 6.39; 1.50 to 27.27; p=0.012 and OR, 8.25; 1.46 to 46.51; p=0.003, respectively) and comorbidity with anxiety (OR, 5.40; 1.76 to 16.57; p=0.03 and OR, 3.34; 1.08 to 10.36; p=0.037, respectively).

Emotional instability was also a significant risk factor for PTSD alone (OR, 9.28; 1.67 to 51.42; p=0.011) and its comorbidity with anxiety (OR, 5.71; 1.61 to 20.30; p=0.007).

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