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article imageAnti-depressants, no sea for Salvadoran castaway

By AFP     Feb 17, 2014 in World

Salvadoran castaway Jose Salvador Alvarenga, still in hospital after his 13-month Pacific odyssey, will need antidepressants and anxiety medication, doctors said Monday.

Due to Alvarenga's fear of the sea, which medics earlier linked with possible post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), his family also will be asked to him away from the water when he is eventually released from San Rafael hospital in Santa Tecla, near the capital.

"We are going to be recommending that the family avoid any contact between him and the ocean. Not just seeing it, but even the sound or smell could trigger flashbacks, bring up all the tragedy he has been through," his attending physician Yeerles Ramírez told reporters.

Doctors have not decided when he will be released, but Ramirez said Alvarenga would need outpatient psychiatric care for at least six months.

And his psychiatrist, Angel Fredi Sermeno, said he would be treated with antidepressant and anti-anxiety medication.

Grab from a handout video released by the Salvadoran health ministry showing castaway Jose Salvador ...
Grab from a handout video released by the Salvadoran health ministry showing castaway Jose Salvador Alvarenga at San Rafael hospital in Santa Tecla, on February 12, 2014
Salvadoran Health Ministry, Salvadoran Health Ministry/AFP/File

Tests have shown that Alvarenga does not require surgery, Ramirez said. Physically "he is fairly fit," the doctor added.

Alvarenga gave several interviews after he washed ashore in the Marshall Islands on January 30, telling reporters he had survived in a small fiberglass boat for more than a year after setting off from Mexico in late 2012.

The fisherman says he endured the 12,500-kilometer (8,000-mile) trip by eating raw fish and bird flesh and drinking turtle blood and his own urine.

More about Marshalls, Salvador, Mexico, Survival, Transport
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