Millions of survivors of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and have yet to receive treatment or counseling.
Many of the victims have been using alcohol and cigarettes as sedatives because of the lack of proper care, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Timothy To, executive director of the Hong Kong volunteer group Post-Crisis Counseling Network, said many of the victims lost their families in the disaster.
Most have not received treatment or counseling, so they have resorted to smoking and alcohol to ease the pain, he said.
To said younger victims have lost interest in their studies.
The quake left as many as 24 million victims, more than half of whom have had PTSD symptoms, according to the report.
To said counseling can help sufferers overcome some of the symptoms but proper medical care is still needed.
He said millions in donations to quake victims have been used to buy supplies but not enough has been spent on counseling.
The Chinese government should change its policies so that part of the funds intended for disaster relief can be used to support the work of counselors, he said.
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