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Himalaya Bridge Collapse victim scared of flyovers, dreams of falling

Doctors said that Bhagwat’s symptoms are indicative of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) — a psychiatric disorder that can occurs in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war combat, rape or other violent personal assault.

mumbai Updated: Apr 21, 2019 08:39 IST
Aayushi Pratap
Aayushi Pratap
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Himalaya Bridge Collapse
Vijay Bhagwat who was injured during the collapse, panics every time he takes a flyover(HT)

After more than a month of the Himalaya bride collapse near Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT), 38-year-old Vijay Bhagwat, who was injured during the collapse, panics every time he takes a flyover.

“I keep looking down and get the feeling that it will collapse,” said Bhagwat. On most mornings, he dreams his bed is shaking. “I feel like I am going to fall down. These dreams are so frequent now. It scares me to think about it,” added Bhagwat, who is nurse at GT Hospital, Fort. He lost three of his colleagues in the accident.

Doctors said that Bhagwat’s symptoms are indicative of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) — a psychiatric disorder that can occurs in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war combat, rape or other violent personal assault.

It has been over a month since the incident occurred but Bhagwat has not visited a psychiatrist yet. His case, doctors said, is a reminder of how psychiatric help is so poorly weaved into trauma care. Dr Avinash DeSousa, consultant psychiatrist at the civic-run Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General Hospital, Sion, said PTSD often goes undiagnosed as many trauma patients are not referred to the psychiatry department. “Unfortunately, psychiatric help has never been made available as a part of trauma care. While patients are treated for their physical injuries, treatment for psychological damage doesn’t start in parallel.”

He added that unlike surgeons, orthopaedics and physiotherapists, psychiatrists are not a part of the trauma care team which gives immediate care to patients. “Very often when patients are recovering in the hospital beds, they need the most amounts of psychological help to cope with the situation,” said Dr DeSousa.

Doctors said that starting treatment for PTSD at an initial stage of recovery is important to ensure that people who have gone through trauma do not develop severe mental illnesses in the long run. Dr Jahnavi Kedare, president of Bombay Psychiatric Society, said a many patients with PTSD also develop depression and anxiety in the long-run. “If psychiatric help begins in early stages, there are lesser chances of a patient developing PTSD,” said Dr Kedare.

Bhagwat said he will visit a psychiatrist, once he has fully recovered from his physical injuries. “Right now, doctors have asked me focus on my physical health. Once I recover, I plan to visit a psychiatrist.”

Bhagwat said he will visit a psychiatrist, once he has fully recovered from his physical injuries. “Right now doctors have asked me focus on my physical health. Once I recover, I plan to visit a psychiatrist.”

First Published: Apr 21, 2019 08:39 IST