Quake strain showing in health, social problems

1:29 pm on 19 October 2012

Canterbury District Health Board says there are similarities between the behaviour of many earthquake-affected people to those who survived Hurricane Katrina in the United States.

This includes a continued surge in alcohol abuse, smoking, relationship break-ups and a general lack of self-care.

Three years after Hurricane Katrina, substance abuse, smoking, depression, lack of medication use and hospitalisation had risen significantly, the board's report said.

Chief executive David Meates says the early signs of those patterns are occurring in Christchurch, including substance abuse, domestic violence, binge drinking and medication non-compliance.

The Mental Health Foundation says the uncertainty and thousands of aftershocks have caused immeasurable stress to many people.