A review of psychopharmacological interventions post-disaster to prevent psychiatric sequelae

Academic Article


  • Background: Disasters are mega-scale catastrophic events which cause trauma and mental health sequelae. A review of early pharmacological interventions for the prevention of psychiatric disorders following disasters is sorely needed. Methods: A literature search of “Psychiatric Sequelae AND Disasters”, “Disaster mental health/Disaster psychiatry”, “Psychotropics AND Disasters”, and “Drug therapy AND Disasters” yielded 213 articles, 38 of which were included in the review. Results: Common post-disaster psychiatric conditions are: posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depressive and anxiety disorders, substance use disorders and medically-unexplained psychological symptoms. Early psychopharmacological interventions to prevent PTSD provide promising evidence for hydrocortisone in medically ill trauma populations. Less robust benefits were noted for other pharmacological interventions. No reported trials have explored prevention of depression or other common post-disaster psychiatric conditions. Conclusion: Hydrocortisone shows promise in preventing and reducing the psychiatric sequelae of PTSD following disasters. Further evaluation of hydrocortisone and other potentially beneficial psychopharmacological interventions are needed.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Author List

  • Birur B; Math SB; Fargason RE
  • Start Page

  • 8
  • End Page

  • 26
  • Volume

  • 47
  • Issue

  • 1