Open J Psychiatry Allied Sci. 2016;7:159-61. doi: 10.5958/2394-2061.2016.00027.6. Epub 2016 Apr 26.

A silver lining in strife torn camps of Bodoland, Assam: a case study intersecting gender, disaster, and mental health.

Das BS, Ali A.


A case of a 40-year-old, Muslim woman, educated up to class IV, homemaker by profession, hailing from a lower socioeconomic background of Chirang district of Assam was referred to medical camp, with symptoms of reduced interest in daily activities, increased tension, fearfulness, with decreased amount of sleep and appetite. Psychiatric social work assessment showed that she had a frictional and conflicting relationship with her husband. Due to which her quality of life was compromised. On further assessment it was found that the client was having moderate level of functioning. Impact of Event Scale score suggested cutoff for a probable diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), consider consulting a mental health professional. The client was referred to a psychiatrist for further assessment and treatment, and she was diagnosed as PTSD. Later individual, marital, and group interventions were provided and moderate improvement in terms of self-esteem, reducing anxiety, and enhancing coping mechanism. The present case study prompts us to look at the intersection of mental health, disaster, and gender. Disasters have been taking place since time immemorial and will continue to occur. A significant percentage of survivors develop profound, debilitating posttraumatic stress reactions requiring extended mental health intervention. These extreme stress reactions include fear and irrational behaviour, shock, immobilisation, withdrawal, denial and intrusive thoughts, hyper-vigilance, easy startle, insomnia, decreased attention and concentration, and psycho-physiological reactions. The social work professionals have long been involved with disaster relief work, both at individual and community level.


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