Quake-hit women, children develop
Nightmares, insomnia, depression and other phobias are
the main psychological disorders that the quake-stricken people,
particularly women and children, have developed since last year’s
October 8 disastrous earthquake.
The psychological condition of men is relatively
better as compared to the shaken women and children. Most of the
affected people are not normal in their general appearance, their speech
is broken and they see no attraction in life after the tragedy, which
affected more than three million people of five districts in the NWFP
and four in Azad Kashmir.
"Most of the quake-hit people were suffering from
nightmares, insomnia, irritability, phobias and frustrations.
They were worried about their future and were
struggling for normalcy of life," disclosed a report compiled by two
women psychotherapists, Syeda Adeel and Tahira Ashraf, of the Dosti
Pakistan, after treating 1,075 quake victims in three major hospitals of
Peshawar and others in the relief centre at Hayatabad and tent villages
in Balakot and Battagram.
Members of a family from Garlat Balakot, which has
returned to their hometown, were suffering from a number of
psychological complications before they were given psychotherapy. The 25
years old graduate, Shafeena Azhar, who had been in hospital for
treating her fractured leg, looked abnormal in general appearance after
loosing her son in the tragedy and used to be aggressive.
She was suffering from nightmares along with
narcolepsy, higher depression, low appetite and used to cry after short
spells. Her spouse, Azhar, was upset, frustrated and very much depressed
after losing his two brothers, a sister and son. Five years old daughter
of the couple had lost sleep and appetite.
The eight-and-half-year-old Salma of Qadirabad Balakot
was the student of Class VI at the time of the disaster. Her general
appearance was normal but she used to cry sometimes and was suffering
from insomnia with nightmares. Her depression level was also high.
Kulsoom, 14, and Saira, 11, from the same locality, were also suffering
from nightmares but had no other psychological disorders. For them there
was no charm left in life.
"After attending few therapy sessions, all the three
children recovered a lot. They wanted to continue their study so we
provided them books, colour pencils and other things to engage them in
extra curricular activities. They also participated actively on World
Children’s Day functions at the relief centre," the report claimed.
Among all the disorders, nightmares and insomnia was
the most common, found in majority of the quake-shaken populace. It was
found that majority of the affected people have lost hope and have no
attraction in life, studies or jobs.
The report compiled by the two female psychologists
has suggested proper psychotherapy to the entire population of the
quake-hit areas so they could return to their normal life. It asked for
organising different activities to engage the shaken people so they
could be brought out of their thoughts.
Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depressions,
anxiety, phobias, substance abuse and drug addiction along with social
problems of dependency, beggary, child smuggling and increase of crime
and prostitution is feared among the affected people in case proper
attention was not paid to their psychological treatment.
Javed Aziz Khan, Peshawar
2 January 2006