It is becoming increasingly common for psychiatrists to be among the first responders when disaster strikes. More than 800 psychiatrists are believed to have responded to the 9/11 attacks. The first clinical manual on the best practices for helping those affected by disaster, Disaster Psychiatry: Readiness, Evaluation, and Treatment offers an explicit and practical discussion of the evidence base for recommendations for psychiatric evaluation and interventions for disaster survivors.
Disaster is defined by the World Health Organization as a severe disruption, ecological and psychosocial, that greatly exceeds a community's capacity to cope. This manual takes an "all-hazards" approach to disasters and has application to natural occurrences such as earthquakes and hurricanes; accidental technological events such as airplane crashes; and willful human acts such as terrorism.
The field of disaster psychiatry is more important than ever, in response to disasters such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Today, disaster psychiatry encompasses a wide spectrum of clinical interests, ranging from public health preparations and early psychological interventions to psychiatric consultation to surgical units and psychotherapeutic interventions to alleviate stress in children and families after school shootings, hurricanes, or civil conflict. Although disaster mental health is still a young field, research is gradually yielding methods for accurately identifying valid relationships among preexisting risk factors, postdisaster mental health problems, and effective interventions.
With its practical approach to readiness, response, and intervention and its focus on evidence-based recommendations for psychiatric evaluation and interventions, Disaster Psychiatry: Readiness, Evaluation, and Treatment is an invaluable manual for educator and student alike. The manual draws on a variety of sources, including the peer-reviewed scientific literature, the clinical wisdom imparted by front-line psychiatrists and other mental health professionals, and the experiences of those who have organized disaster mental health services, including the American Psychiatric Association and Disaster Psychiatry Outreach. Each chapter provides clear and concise information and in-depth review, followed by helpful study questions and answers. This book has been developed to give professionals the knowledge they need to respond swiftly and appropriately when disaster strikes.