- Be aware that an effective plan to maintain mental health care in the event of a natural disaster should include alternate strategies for filling prescriptions, communicating with patients, and accessing patient records when the usual health care infrastructure no longer exists.
- This presentation was made at a national meeting.
NEW ORLEANS, Nov. 22 -- In the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, patients here suffered from a generalized anxiety disorder dubbed "Katrina Brain," a psychiatrist reported here.
As residents of New Orleans struggled to live in a city with a destroyed infrastructure -- no electricity, no drinkable water, no phone service, no mail -- there were mental health consequences, said Kenneth Sakauye, M.D.
Patients suffered from insomnia, difficulty concentrating, memory deficits, and more, he said. At the time Katrina struck, Dr. Sakauye was at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center here.
The traditional stress reaction to the danger and death dealt out by the storm was also a significant factor, Dr. Sakauye said at the U.S. Psychiatric & Mental Health Congress meeting. Since Katrina, Dr. Sakauye has moved to the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis.