Prevalence of alcohol misuse mostly short-term after disaster

WHILE many people misuse alcohol after experiencing disasters, few develop a new alcohol use disorder, according to study findings.

US researchers looked at the incidence of alcohol use disorders in nearly 700 people who had experienced disasters, including mass murders, floods, firestorms and a terrorist bombing. Ten disasters were looked at overall. 

They observed survivors in the first three months after the disaster and 1–3 years later.A quarter of survivors had an alcohol use disorder immediately after the disaster, but only 0.3% developed an acute new alcohol use disorder.

Arch Gen Psychiatry 2011; 68: 173-180