Psychotropic drug prescription and usage after cyclone yasi in North Queensland, Australia: an indication of psychosocial distress in the community and evidence for further resource applications

Usher, Kim, West, Caryn, Woods, Cindy, Chamberlain-Salaun, Jennifer, and Grasso, Joe (2013) Psychotropic drug prescription and usage after cyclone yasi in North Queensland, Australia: an indication of psychosocial distress in the community and evidence for further resource applications. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 22 (S1). p. 34.

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Abstract

After traumatic events such as emergencies and disasters, there is often an increase in psychosocial distress among communities. As a result, there may be an increase in the prescription and use of psychotropic medications as one way to help manage the symptoms of this distress in individuals. Few studies have considered changes in psychotropic medication usage following a disaster as a proxy measure of the extent of mental health distress in the community. A pharmaco-epidemiological design compared de-identified government prescribing databases for anxiolytic, antidepressant and a control prescription for a 6 month period after the cyclone for all affected North Queensland communities and compared the data with a similar data set from the same time period in the previous year. The results indicate a significant increase in the prescription of antidepressant medications compared to the control drug and the previous year. Determining changes in psychotropic prescribing patterns following a disaster provide evidence to inform post-disaster public health response, planning, and funding. As an increase in antidepressant medications is an indicator of distress in the community, the data from this study provided community mental health nurses with evidence to support funding requests for additional resources (human resources and other) to support post disaster response activities in the local area.

Learning Objectives:

1. Increased understanding of the link between emergencies and disasters, and psychosocial response.

2. Recognition that general practitioners prescribe antidepressants as a way of managing distress following traumatic events. 3. Awareness of how sharing research findings can be used to support applications for post disaster response activities.

Item ID: 31793
Item Type: Article (Abstract)
ISSN: 1447-0349
Date Deposited: 07 May 2014 02:12
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1110 Nursing > 111005 Mental Health Nursing @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920407 Health Protection and/or Disaster Response @ 50%
92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920210 Nursing @ 50%
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