The Link Between Natural Disasters and Depression

depressionStories of the aftermath of hurricane Katrina have been many since the disaster. A study called “Hurricane Katrina: Maternal Depression Trajectories and Child Outcomes” appearing in the professional publication Current Psychology reported that 10 percent of moms who lived through Katrina were still experiencing chronic depression two years after the natural catastrophe.

For their research investigators followed 283 moms and their kids who has been living in the south Louisiana area when Katrina hit. For more than two years following the hurricane, investigators collected information used to measure depression from these mothers. They also tracked the mental and behavioral health of the children. For the 10 percent of moms who experienced depression, symptoms were persistent and serious even beyond the two year mark.

Since maternal depression can negatively impact parenting, researchers were also interested in looking for signs of depression and behavior problems in the children post-Katrina. The results were encouraging. Children seemed to not be affected by their mothers’ depression. Kids showed no signs of depression nor of depression-linked negative behaviors.

Moms don’t have to live through something as horrific as a hurricane to become depressed. But as this study reveals, depression symptoms can linger. Even when immediate circumstances improve, symptoms of mood disorder may not. If you are a mom and you have been feeling sad, listless and unmotivated for more than two weeks, you could be depressed.

Not addressing your depression can allow it to worsen. That affects you and those you love. Come to Family Guidance Center for a mental health assessment so we can help you find the treatment that is right for you. We will work with a team of healthcare providers, including your physician, to address the causes and symptoms related to your depression.