Mental health conditions after snakebite

Snakebite is a neglected tropical disease. Snakebite causes at least 120 000 death each year and it is estimated that there are three times as many amputations. Snakebite survivors are known to suffer from long-term physical and psychological sequelae, but not much is known on the mental health manifestations post-snakebite.

Bhaumik S et al conducted a scoping review and searched five major electronic databases contacted experts and conducted reference screening to identify primary studies on mental health manifestations after snakebite envenomation to conduct a scoping review. They retrieved 334 studies and finally included 11 studies on the topic. Of the 11 studies , post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was the most commonly studied mental health condition after snakebite, with five studies reporting it. Estimates of the proportion of snakebite survivors having PTSD varied from 8% to 43% across different studies reported in this review. The other mental health conditions reported were focused around depression, psychosocial impairment of survivors after a snakebite envenomation, hysteria, delusional disorders and acute stress disorders. The prevalence of depression in those affected by snakebite ranged from 25% to 54% in different studies. There is only one intervention study to address psychiatric morbidity after snakebite envenomation.

There is a need for more research on understanding the neglected aspect of psychological morbidity of snakebite envenomation, particularly in countries with high burden. From the limited evidence available, depression and PTSD are major mental health manifestations in snakebite survivors.

Read the full research in BMJ Global Health

Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

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