Depression, alcoholism take toll on lonely evacuees in Japanese disaster areas

At least once during the daytime, she says she thinks about killing herself.

“Perhaps I had better die,” the woman muttered. “But I want to die in Hirono.”

Cases of depression and alcoholism are rising in number among evacuees of the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake, tsunami and the nuclear accident.

A team of mental care specialists from Kyoto Prefecture treated 262 people at seven evacuation centers, including one in Aizuwakamatsu in Fukushima Prefecture, until July.

The team said 51 evacuees, or 19.5 percent, were suffering from reactive depression.

Toru Ishikawa, president of the Tohokukai Medical Hospital in Sendai, says the survivors of disasters have become more susceptible to depression and alcoholism since moving into temporary housing from evacuation centers. That’s because many of them now live alone.

Full story at; Depression, alcoholism take toll on lonely evacuees in disaster areas – English.

Causes and Risks for Binge Drinking by Women

Binge drinking woman Women’s childhood and adult adverse experiences, mental health, and binge drinking: The California Women’s Health Survey.

Researchers surveyed nearly 7,000 women in California during 2003-4 and found that 9.3% were involved in binge drinking.

The reasons given for alcohol abuse in this manner were;

Poor physical health, and poorer mental health, including;

  • symptoms of PTSD,
  • anxiety,
  • depression,
  • feeling overwhelmed by stress

Adverse experiences in adulthood, including;

  • intimate partner violence,
  • having been physically or sexually assaulted, or
  • having experienced the death of someone close

In childhood, including;

  • living with someone abusing substances or mentally ill, or
  • with a mother victimized by violence, or
  • having been physically or sexually assaulted

The study concluded that identifying characteristics of women who engage in binge drinking is a key step in prevention and intervention efforts.

Binge drinking programs should consider comprehensive approaches that address women’s mental health symptoms as well as circumstances in the childhood home.

Women’s childhood and adult adverse experiences, mental health, and binge drinking: The California Women’s Health Survey. Christine Timko, Anne Sutkowi, Joanne Pavao and Rachel Kimerling. Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy 2008, 3:1.

See also;

Coping With Stress

Stress is a fact of daily life and is the result of both the good and bad things that happen. Too much stress can cause serious health concerns, but there are many ways of dealing with stress that can reduce your risk.


Stress can come from major events in life such as getting married or changing jobs, or from minor daily incidents, such as job pressures or holiday planning. The things that cause you stress may not be a problem for someone else. If you did not feel stress of some sort, you would not be alive. Good stress, such as winning a game or going on vacation, can make you feel more involved and energized. But the negative effects of too much stress associated with being under pressure can affect your health.

When you find an event stressful, your body undergoes a series of responses. These come in three stages:

Mobilizing Energy

Your body releases adrenaline, your heart beats faster and you start to breathe more quickly. Both good and bad events can trigger this reaction.

Consuming Energy Stores

If you remain in the mobilizing energy stage for a period of time, your body begins to release stored sugars and fats. You will then feel driven, pressured and tired. You may drink more coffee, smoke more and drink more alcohol. You may also experience anxiety, negative thinking or memory loss, catch a cold or get the flu more often than normal.

Draining Energy Stores

If you do not resolve your stress problem, your body’s need for energy will become greater than its ability to provide it. At this stage, you may experience insomnia, errors in judgement and personality changes. You may also develop a serious illness such as heart disease or be at risk of mental illness.

Symptoms of Stress

Signs that you are over-stressed may include:

  • Feelings of irritability, sadness or guilt
  • Change in sleep patterns
  • Change in weight or appetite
  • Difficulty in concentrating or making decisions
  • Negative thinking
  • Loss of interest, enjoyment or energy in something you used to enjoy
  • Restlessness

Health Effects of Stress

While some people may appear to thrive on it, stress is considered to be a risk factor in a great many diseases, including:

  • heart disease
  • some types of bowel disease
  • herpes
  • mental illness

Stress also makes it hard for people with diabetes to control their blood sugar.

Stress is also a risk factor in alcohol and substance abuse, as well as weight loss and gain.

Stress has even been identified as a possible risk factor in Alzheimer’s Disease.

Severe stress can cause biochemical changes in the body, affecting the immune system, leaving your body vulnerable to disease.

Minimizing Your Risk

Here are several strategies to help you deal with stress.

Understanding stress

Notice and remember when you experience the signs of stress. This will help you figure out what triggers stress in you. It may be:

  • Major events such as getting married, changing jobs, moving your home, getting divorced or coping with the death of a loved one
  • Long term worries such as financial problems, your children’s future, your job or an ongoing illness
  • Daily hassles such as traffic jams, rude people or machines that don’t work.

Coping with stress

Because everyone is different, there is no single way to cope with stress. However, there are a number of approaches you can try to deal with short and long term stress.

  • Identify your problems. What is causing your stress? It can be your job, a relationship or another source altogether. Is an unimportant surface problem masking a deeper one? Once you know what the problem is, you can do something about it.
  • Work on solutions. Start thinking about what you can do to relieve the problem. Take control over the issues you can manage. This might mean looking for another job, talking with a health professional about personal problems or a financial counsellor. Also ask yourself what will happen if you do nothing. Once you make some changes to deal with the issue, you will take pressure off yourself.
  • Talk about your problems. Friends, work colleagues and family members may not know you are having a hard time. If you talk to them about it, it may help in two ways. First of all, just by venting your feelings, you will relieve some stress. Secondly, they may suggest solutions to your problems. If you need to talk to someone outside your circle of family and friends, speak to your family physician or contact a mental health professional.
  • Learn about stress management. In addition to health professionals who specialize in stress, there are many helpful books, films, videos, courses and workshops available to help you learn stress management techniques.
  • Reduce tension. Physical activity is a great stress reducer. Walk, do some exercises or garden to relieve your stress. There are also relaxation exercises you can learn that will take the pressure off, such as deep breathing and stretching your whole body. Tension meditation and progressive relaxation are techniques that work for many people.
  • Take your mind off your problems. By reading, taking up a hobby or becoming involved in sports, you can give yourself a `mental holiday’ from stress. It will also give you distance from your problems, so that they become easier to solve.
  • Try not to be too hard on yourself. Stress can cause lots of negative thinking. You may notice yourself saying things like “I can’t, won’t, should, must”. Be realistic. Find realistic solutions you can achieve in steps that will bring success.

Stress prevention

Once you have lowered your stress level, there are techniques that will help prevent it from building up again.

  • Make decisions. Worrying about making a decision causes stress.
  • Avoid putting things off. Make up a weekly schedule that includes leisure activities as well as things you must do.
  • Delegate to others. Let others take on some of the tasks you have set yourself so that you are not trying to do everything yourself.
  • Keep your thinking positive and realistic.


Indigo Dreams: Relaxation and Stress Management Bedtime Stories for Children, Improve Sleep, Manage Stress and Anxiety (Indigo Dreams)
by Lori Lite

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Can we identify some of the characteristics of our true ‘Inner Person’ (Natural Spirit) and the actions, beliefs or thinking of the ‘Adapted Spirit’ which may have resulted from a ‘Wounded Spirit’. 

The natural spirit or natural person can be seen as the way we are in our inner most selves – our real selves. Perhaps we were born with some natural tendencies for the characteristics in this column. We may prevent this natural spirit from being seen by the outside world. We may be suppressing our feelings and spirits. We may even stop ourselves from being aware of impulses or intuitions from our natural spirit. 

We may have experienced a traumatic event or series of events, which hurt us at a very deep level. As a result our spirit may have been wounded. To protect ourselves from further pain or out of revenge, we may have adapted our thinking, beliefs and actions. These adapted mannerisms may have become destructive to us without us knowing it. And they may have become so ‘normal’ to us that we cannot see or believe our behaviours are not OK.


Natural Spirit


Wounded Spirit


Adapted Spirit 

Centre of a safe and loving universe Centre of an unsafe, unloving universe Centre of a world that can be made safe and loving through playing games



Spontaneous Restricted, fearful Reactions restricted to roles and missions



Creative Reactive Reactive, compliant or manipulative



Sees self as maker of joy Sees self as the maker of pain; causing it, responsible for preventing it or fixing it Sees survival as depending on avoiding dreads of ambiguity, abandonment, blame and betrayal



Curious, in awe of life’s mysteries Frightened, suspicious Knows all the answers, has false pride



Relational Fearful, withdrawn Creates barriers to authentic relating; relates to others in terms of scripts and games



Joyful Sad Triumphant when games are working; sad fearful when they are not



Secure boundaries Born in autonomy violations Tends to merge with others, be a victim or perpetrator of boundary violations



Consolable Inconsolable Only happy when compliance, manipulation or reactiveness is successful



Naively grandiose Powerless Obsessed with interpersonal power and its use



Tolerant Intolerant of others Over sensitive



Hopeful, confident and has positive faith Pessimistic Never gives up mission



Momentary fear, anger, guilt, sadness, pain, pride etc. Obsessed with pain; knows that pain means true self is worthless, bad, weak, unacceptable to others; knows he is basically unlovable Uses emotional behaviour to get own way



Confident Low self-esteem Develops self-image in terms of role; gauges worth in terms of reactions of others



Flexible Deals only in blacks and whites; focuses on inevitability of impending doom; never alters world view No tolerance for ambiguity; deals only in blacks and whites; focuses on avoiding of impending doom; never alters world view



Trusting Distrustful, suspicious Sees people, organisations and events as out to ‘get them’



Interdependent Isolated, relies on own resources Dependent, blames others and outside events for problems



Accepting Has unreasonable expectations of others Judgemental, intolerant; views others through his own distorted view; focuses on the shortcomings of others



Humble Has distorted sense of self Grandiose; promotes self in interactions with others, uses the ‘I, Me, Myself’ inflection



Motives, desires and emotions appropriate to age, needs and societal expectations Has motives, desires and emotions of a teenager Mainly seeks to satisfy self; bodily senses, ego and emotions



Open, accepting, realistic Fearful, denying Fails to see how ones thinking, perceptions and behaviour contributes to ones situation 

In Twelve-Step terms the Wounded and Adapted Spirits may be known as Powerlessness (1st Step), Insanity (2nd Step), Wrongs (5th Step), Defects of Character (6th Step) or Shortcomings (7th Step). 

In Alcoholics Anonymous colloquial terms the ‘Adapted’ self would be known as a Dry Drunk.


The Wounded Spirit may have created a WALL of DENIAL of ACCESS to the real inner person – your Natural Spirit. 

Copyright © 2007 Robin Foote  

Alcohol Self-help News and BriefTSF


High rates of Alcoholism and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Abstract of report; The present study investigates the prevalence of comorbid posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in a sample of Polish alcohol dependent patients and examines the relationship between comorbid PTSD and alcohol use-related problems.


A total of 458 patients were recruited from randomly chosen clinical settings and were administered self-report measures of trauma exposure, PTSD symptomatology, and alcohol use-related problems.


From these 458 patients, 67% of the patients reported having experienced at least one criterion; a traumatic event, and 60% of them reported multiple traumas.


Approximately 25% of clients met the criteria for PTSD.


The only significant difference between the PTSD and non-PTSD alcoholics was abuse/dependence of other psychoactive substances.


However, patients reporting physical assaults committed by a non-stranger reported more frequent PTSD diagnosis, more extensive symptomatology, more conflicts with the law and more physical injuries due to drinking.


The findings of the study confirm the importance of assessing trauma and PTSD in alcohol dependent patients.


Małgorzata Dragan and Maria Lis-Turlejska. Prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder in alcohol dependent patients in Poland. Addictive Behaviors ,Volume 32, Issue 5 , May 2007, Pages 902-911