Chernobyl Liquidators' Health
as a Psycho-Social Trauma

4.3.3. Effects on health

       What affects on health may extreme and/or unusual environments produce? The list of the effects includes destructive/self-destructive behaviours, psychosomatic problems, post-traumatic stress disorder, hallucinations, and community mental health problems.
       The most common psychosomatic symptoms are sleep disturbances, headache, fatigue, sore muscles, gastrointestinal dysfunction. Such symptoms are most probable when danger is not acute and both survival and tasks to be performed do not require constant alertness. Crowding and boredom exacerbate the occurrence of the complaints.
       Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) embraces a set of common symptoms (which may persist throughout life) characteristic for survivors of many types of disasters. Depending on the traumatic environment, the symptoms were called post-traumatic stress disorder, concentration camp syndrome, disaster syndrome, shell shock, combat veteran syndrome. The symptoms include:
intrusive memories and dreams of the event,
numbing of responsiveness,
survivor guilt,
impaired memory,
sleep disturbances, and
avoidance of activities that remind the individual of the traumatic situation.
       Such is the most common set of symptoms found in the individual as the aftermath of extreme and/or unusual environments.

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Design by: M.Opalev
Studio ARWIS  Kharkov, 2001