GENDER DIFFERENCES IN PREVALENCE OF ANXIETY

GENDER DIFFERENCES IN PREVALENCE OF ANXIETY DISORDERS AMONG EARTH QUAKE SURVIVORS

INTRODUCTION
Earthquake disaster of Pakistan in 2005 caused massive destruction. Death toll was more than 70000. Survivors experienced several recurrent aftershocks after that. They were diagnosed as having variable anxiety disorders including panic disorder and PTSD. Frequency of female patients was much higher than male. The major factors responsible are loss of life and property and uncertainty regarding future, harsh weather and repeated tremors. Objective of this paper is to study differential neurobiological and psychological impact of earthquake on males and females.

METHOD
Data was collected from various agencies including WHO, Turkish Red Crescent, Canadian team of relief and some other NGOs working with earth quake hit communities in NWFP and Azad Kashmir. Diagnosis was made using semi-structured interviews.

RESULTS
Data analyses of women (1056), men (281) and children (204) indicate high prevalence of anxiety disorders including PTSD (853 women, 153 men) and depression (73 women, 31 men). Results vary from the observations made from other disasters. Sex ratio shows huge difference in prevalence between males and females.

DISCUSSION
Patients with PTSD have dysregulation of HPA axis response. This alteration is more pronounced in case of women. Studies show that estrogen plays important role in the genesis of disease. Dexamethasone suppression test also indicates greater dysregulation of glucocorticoid receptor. Studies reveal predisposition in women for PTSD and depression
Women and children were affected most because most of them were at home and in schools. Hence, they sustained more physical injuries and psychiatric consequences.
In our study depression came out to be more prevalent in females. This can be explained as comorbidity of PTSD and because of its own dynamics.
CONCLUSION
After exposure to trauma male and female respond differently.