July 23rd, 2010
04:31 PM ET

Gulf residents report anxiety, sleeplessness

Nearly 60 percent of coastal Louisiana residents in a phone survey indicated that they were constantly worried about the Gulf Coast oil disaster.

More than eight out of 10 respondents reported worrying about their family, friends and community's survival to the complications caused by the environmental disaster, according to sociology researchers from Louisiana State University.

Last week, BP placed a cap over the damaged well in the Gulf of Mexico to stop the flow that began April 20.

No oil leaking as BP conducts critical pressure tests in Gulf oil well

The survey of 900 residents started on June 17 for over two weeks. Here are some of their findings:

Because of their worry over the oil spill:
• 46 percent said it prevented them from getting a good night’s sleep
• 43 percent said it prevented from being able to focus on their usual job or work
• 40 percent felt sick to their stomach "some of the time" or ‘almost constantly’
• 38 percent experienced headaches or migraines ‘some of the time’ or "almost constantly"
• 34 percent experienced aches and pains ‘some of the time’ or "almost constantly"

“The early indications are that the human health impacts of this event are real and substantial,” wrote the authors, Matthew Lee and Troy Blanchard, sociology professors at LSU. “Negative affective states, physiological symptoms, and disruptions to daily routines are evident, and are generally widespread. The findings suggest that significant public health resources may be needed to mitigate the pernicious consequences of this disaster for coastal Louisiana residents.”

For an in-depth report on the looming mental health crisis  along the Gulf Coast, check back Monday on CNNHealth.com.

soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. yolanda hernandez


    July 23, 2010 at 21:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Truth Hurts

      Your God did this to you.
      Took all you had and left you this way

      Pray to your Christ, to your God
      Never taste of the fruit, never stray, never break,
      never choke on a lie even though he's the one who
      Did this to you, you never thought to question "Why?"

      July 24, 2010 at 16:02 | Report abuse |
    • will

      I enjoyed reading your psychotic response to the article.

      July 25, 2010 at 13:17 | Report abuse |
  2. Sundog

    I wonder how many of these people suffer Migraines, Nausea, and Pain due to toxic fumes and exposure to aromatic hydrocarbons, hexane, and benzene, and particulate matter due to the burn off, and the presence of Corexit and oil in the hydrologic cycle? Check this out

    July 23, 2010 at 23:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jenn

      I live in Orange Beach, AL (2 miles from coast). Although I have a history of migraines, I have not had one for 6 years. Since May, I have had 4 debilitating migraines (not able to get out of bed, Dark room, no noise,) When I dont have a migraine, I have dizziness, lightheaded, and nausea most days. My husband had worked in the marinas.....went to work fine, comes home, headache....dizzy....nausea.... goes to bed.... fine the next morning. Goes to work.... he is fine... comes home and has same symtoms..... continued for the week he was there, his co workers were affected as well with same symptoms. I really wish someone would check this out.

      July 25, 2010 at 00:51 | Report abuse |
    • Sandra VanSuch

      Thanks so much for reporting this you need to get that video to the news crews in your area, get it out everywhere you can! This is what all of us in the gulf coast area fear. The entire country could be affected by this. It's not just us, just because you don't live here does not mean this cannot come in the air and in the rain in your area just as easily. There has been a white foamy and milky looking substance in the streets here in South Florida when it rains, it may not be from the rain but what is stirred up by the rain that has been in our air and blanketed everything as it settled. If we can get dust from Africa here what makes them think we would not get toxic dispersant that was sprayed from planes and evaporated from the ocean? Why is there not more independent testing being done by news stations and others? This needs to be covered!!!!

      July 25, 2010 at 09:45 | Report abuse |
  3. abcdef54321

    Hear my prayer, oh Lord.

    Forgive me for having voted for corporation-loving, regulation-hating, government-despising Conservatives all my adult life. Forgive my neighbors and fellow southerners for doing the same oh these long fifty years. Forgive us for letting the 'Southern Strategy' work, wherein Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan deliberately used the racist feelings that many of us have to sway our votes. Forgive me for believing Conservative lies, when the truth was as obvious as the nose on my face. Forgive the Senators and Congressmen that I helped to elect. I knew that they were little, selfish, foolish, short-sighted, poorly-educated, and greedy men when I voted for them, and their evil ways were well known to all. I knew that there was not a speck of decency in any of them, but I voted for them anyway, due to my un-Christian hatred of pointy-headed, socialist-Communist-Lesbian-Marxist-Traitor-Liberals (may they be slowly turned on a spit over the hottest fires of Hell for Eternity.)

    Forgive me for not respecting the pollution-free, pristine, pure, virginal planet that You gave to us. Forgive us for over-fishing when we knew we were doing the wrong thing. Forgive us for dumping industrial and agricultural chemicals by thousands of tons into Your beautiful ocean. Forgive me for pretending that global warming doesn’t exist when I knew better in my heart. Forgive me for never once worrying about the damage we were doing to humankind’s paradise, our Eden, our Earth, which You made and gave to us as the perfect home. Forgive all of us for spitting into Your Holy Face for generations. We were too hateful and greedy to think straight.

    Protect us from the product of our stupidity and greed. There is no good reason for You to stop this oil leak because we are not worthy of Your help, but we hope You will stop it anyway.


    July 24, 2010 at 00:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • giz

      And while You are at it, forgive me for reading this, well, I don't know what to call it.


      July 24, 2010 at 05:28 | Report abuse |
    • Rigel54

      OK, you're mostly right for many. Just remember, you're completely wrong for many as well. Something like 30% of the population, and maybe more, is trying for a better direction. Be more constructive (though your frustration is easy to understand).

      July 25, 2010 at 23:07 | Report abuse |
  4. Simon

    Is CNN also going to report on the human health disaster going on in Fallujah ? The Gulf Residents are suffering, no doubt about it, but it pales in comparison with the human tragedy unfolding in Fallujah where cancer rates are skyrocketing, infant mortality and deformations are out of control. This is of course a politcally sensitive issue..but for please...show some courage.

    July 24, 2010 at 08:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rigel54

      Are you in Fallujah now, Simon? Who is keeping cancer statistics there? What cancers are prominent? What are the presumed vectors? What time do the birth defects span? Are there disparities between Fallujah and neighboring communities. How do the stats compare to similar cities elsewhere in the Arab world? I suspect you're FoBS.

      July 25, 2010 at 23:04 | Report abuse |
  5. Sandra VanSuch

    We live in Florida and feel as if we have been living in a battle zone. One where I fear for the life of my children and my family. There is the immediate fear for what will happen minute by minute day by day as we are not being told the truth of the extent of the problem. The feeling that our government is being run by BP and not the other way around. The fear that if the state is not lost to an immediate environmental disaster that we are daily being exposed to the dispersant toxins and more. Will our children 5, 10, years from now get cancers from the exposure to all this? I am afraid to let my children in the water and to stand in the rain. This is how people all around me feel, stress yes, anxiety yes, loss of sleep yes, and we are not even at ground zero. I can't imagine the fear those who live right on top of all this feel.
    Top that with a husband who has been a hard working professional all his life and has been out of work for a year, me trying to do extra work to just make ends meet and falling further and further behind, our economy now going to tank even more because of the spill as Florida is tourist driven, it is all just too overwhelming. This is how most of the gulf coast feels. Please CNN keep pushing for transparency, keep on telling the dirty truth of what is going on with people’s health, lives, and our gulf. I can't stand to open the newspaper and see one more full page ad from BP saying how they are going to make everything all better. Give that money to the people suffering! We all know they are just trying to save their image, it's not working, it just makes us more upset to see it, show us by fixing this mess!!!

    July 25, 2010 at 09:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • pal17

      It appears that American government can not afford transparency when it comes to national and economic security. Enforcing proper regulations for oil industry would make oil too expensive, in turn it would slow down the economy, many more people would loose their jobs, and the poverty would destroy more lives than the oil spills. At least that probably how politicians think – so they choose lesser of two evils, namely underplay the problems (wars, illnesses, death of animals and plants) associated with the oil production. Your lives and lives of your children happen to be the price people pay for prosperity in America. I guess now we may have insight on how many Afghans, Iraqis and Nigerians feel.

      July 28, 2010 at 10:40 | Report abuse |
  6. gus mom

    you are suffering anxiety and depression? how about all of the pets that you people have dumped into the shelters in the south lately? you don't think they might be a little depressed? how would you like it if your family just dumped you in a prison and left you, for no reason, other than losing their jobs? shame on all of you.

    July 25, 2010 at 14:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rigel54

      Oh, give me a break! What a sad thing you are to equate an increased rate of animal abandonment by people in economic catastrophe with some sort of blanket moral failure. How strange you are to equate a few cats and dogs with an entire regionof human beings. You are probably one of those truly deranged individuals who broke into countelss homes after Katrina just to "check" whether there were animals. Countless people lost what little they had left on your very wacky account.

      July 25, 2010 at 22:55 | Report abuse |
    • BOAT

      I love my two adopted dogs and one foster dog. If I am ever forced to make the choice between them eating and my kids eating the dogs don't stand a chance. Would you rather the animals were starved to death because the owners could not afford a meal? Maybe keep the animals and make them the meal? Dropping them at shelters is certainly more responsible than starving them or setting them loose in the wild. It is easy to sit back and judge when you aren't the one who is making decisions regarding the welfare of a family.

      July 26, 2010 at 09:08 | Report abuse |
    • pal17

      It appears that higher animal's capacity for suffering on emotional level is not less then that of a human – there are enough stories about animals that die from sadness and captivity, while even most humans incapable of that. Some animals appear to be more courageous, faithful and altruistic than humans, but most people are incapable equating emotional lives of animals with their own. It appears to be a human trait – to see themselves and their own kind as the most precious – egotism, racism, nationalism are all over us. To see the suffering of others for what it is would be intolerably painful – like asking who of your several children you would save first out of the fire or how much you would sell them for – we simply do not want to deal with the answers. Abandoning the animals is like abandoning helpless children – they have no means of survival on their own, most of those animals in shelters are euthanized. So we justify our decisions with logic, lows, religion, and common sense to pretend that others feel no pain or that their pain is somehow less important than ours.

      July 28, 2010 at 15:29 | Report abuse |
  7. Mongo Lloyd

    abcdef –
    Spoken like a true Xtian. You think your failures in voting for the corporate fascists you mention can be, and will be, forgiven by a fictional, fairy tale Supreme Being? Really? I guess that absolves you and the other conservative drones like you of all responsibility for your own acts... and the acts of the fascists you helped elect.
    Actually, it doesn't. People in the Gulf who helped to put these rightwing fascists in power got their misery the old fashioned way. The EARNED it. I hope they enjoy the fruit of their labors... drowning in oil. I am happy it happened to them, and their ocean and beaches.... versus somewhere elses, populated by those who do not want to poison their environment for a few bucks. Enjoy it.

    July 25, 2010 at 15:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rigel54

      Hey, I don't beliveve in the supernatural either,but you're just an ass. Fascists? You should meet some real ones. I'm a (yes!) liberal, and many Republicans are truly horrid, but stop slinging the hyperbole. Do you have a job,or or you just a parasite.

      July 25, 2010 at 22:59 | Report abuse |
  8. Dean

    Sad, but most if not all will feel much better once the BP checks start coming in.

    July 26, 2010 at 03:36 | Report abuse | Reply
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