Women exposed to Deepwater Horizon oil spill continue experiencing symptoms of PTSD

Women exposed to the industrial disaster of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon (BP) oil spill, continue displaying symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and trauma, revealed a recent study. The study was conducted at the Louisiana State University (LSU) School of Public Health and the findings were published in the Journal of Affective Disorders.

Senior study author Edward Peters stated that this was the preliminary research that reported incidences of PTSD and trauma in their Louisiana cohort that suggested that women exposed to the oil spill displayed a high incidence of PTSD and trauma. He further added that less than 50 percent of these women patients received mental health care in the past year, despite displaying serious PTSD symptoms.

Five distinct types of PTSD symptoms discovered

The team comprised of scientists from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Brown University, and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). The researchers studied close to 2,000 females enrolled as a part of the Women and Their Children’s Health (WaTCH) study. These women participants belonged to seven coastal Louisiana parishes and were affected by the aforementioned industrial disaster.

On studying the participants, the researchers found 5 well-defined types of PTSD symptoms in them. These included:

  • Low symptoms
  • Moderate symptoms with mood swings
  • Moderate symptoms without mood swings
  • Severe mood swings with risk taking behavior and
  • Severe mood swings without risk taking behavior

The findings also revealed that women participants with less PTSD symptom had experienced reduced socioeconomic risk factors and traumas. On the other hand, women who displayed serious symptoms of PTSD had experienced enhanced socioeconomic risk factors and traumas. Further, most of the participants who displayed serious PTSD symptoms had no previous history of PTSD diagnosis.

South-eastern Louisiana population vulnerable to mental disorders

According to Dr. Peters, roughly around 13 percent of the participants either met or exceeded the threshold score for possible PTSD and even more reported crossing the sub-threshold levels of PTSD symptoms. The participants from south-east Louisiana displayed a higher level of mental illness. Moreover, apart from the present study, the earlier study results also indicated higher incidences of mental stress and depression in this population.

The researchers concluded that the population exposed to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill needed enhanced accessibility to mental health treatment and care, so that they could receive appropriate care and treatment. This was more relevant as this particular section of the population was also exposed to other disasters such as the Hurricane Katrina. Since the number of disasters in south-eastern Louisiana continue to be on the rise, the population residing in this sensitive region of the U.S. is more susceptible to developing PTSD and other mental health issues.

Seeking help for PTSD

Nearly 8 million Americans are affected by PTSD every year. Moreover, around 37 percent of the diagnosed display serious symptoms, with women displaying higher rates of the disorder as compared to men. PTSD is a mental health condition which manifests when one experiences or witnesses a traumatic incident, however, when the symptoms persist for months or years, it indicates that the individual may be suffering from PTSD. It is possible to treat PTSD with timely treatment.

If you or a loved one is suffering from PTSD and is looking for a 24/7 mental health specialist, get in touch with the 24/7 Mental Health Helpline. We can connect you with relevant 24/7 mental health illness services basis your requirements. The 24/7 mental health facility will offer evidence-based modalities, comprising medications, therapies, and alternative programs, customized to suit each and every individual’s requirement. For more information, call our 24/7 helpline 855-653-8178 or chat online with our admission counselor.