FUKUSHIMA Lives on the Line

125chap.IIIStruggle Against RadioactivityFUKUSHIMA: Lives on the Linebegan, even though the decontamination efficacy was uncertain.Another interesting point is whether anxiety about radiation exposure resulted in an increased number of visits to medical facilities by people with radiophobia. I interacted with nearby psychiatrists and psychosomatic doctors about their patients for the three months after the nuclear accident. Based on the impression I received, it seems that there was no increase in patients with radiophobia or hypochondria related to radiation exposure. I made it a point to share this finding during my lectures. But once, while talking with an internal medicine doctor in Fukushima, I learned that this doctor’s office had clearly seen outpatients with suspected hypochondria. I also spoke with non- psychiatric health physicians at every opportunity I got, and was informed that many patients visited otolaryngologists asking whether their recent nosebleeds were a result of radiation. It appears that the psychiatrists had not fully discovered all cases of radiophobia or radiation-related hypochondria. To bring to light the anxieties about low-dose radiation exposure and its effects on psychiatric health care and to formulate measures to address these anxieties, we must conduct broad surveys together with non-psychiatric health physicians.5. What We Hope to Learn from “Lessons from Fukushima”The goal of this special report is to have Japan’s psychiatric care professionals learn from the lessons from Fukushima. In addition, they must realize, think about, and act upon these lessons when caring for psychiatric disorders caused by nuclear disasters and radiation exposure.Special Report