Late mental health changes in tortured refugees in multidisciplinary treatment.

The Mental Health Services, Capital Region of Denmark, Psychiatric Centre Amager, Copenhagen K, Denmark.
The Journal of nervous and mental disease (Impact Factor: 1.81). 11/2010; 198(11):824-8. DOI: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e3181f97be3
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The aim of this study was to examine long-term changes in symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and in health-related quality of life in traumatized refugees 23 months after admission to multidisciplinary treatment. The study group comprised 45 persons admitted to the Rehabilitation and Research Centre for Torture Victims in 2001 to 2002. Data on background, trauma, present social situation, mental symptoms (Hopkins Symptom Checklist-25, Hamilton Depression Scale, Harvard Trauma Questionnaire), and on health-related quality of life (World Health Organization Quality of Life-Bref) were collected before treatment and after 9 and 23 months. No substantial changes in mental health were observed at the 9-month follow-up, and the minor decrease in some symptoms observed between the 9 and 23 months may reflect regression toward the mean or the natural course of symptoms in this cohort. Thus, no clinically significant improvement was observed, but there is a need for further studies, in particular randomized trials evaluating the efficacy of various health-related and social interventions among severely traumatized refugees.

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    • "Regarding clinical implications, the present study indicates that chronic pain should be assessed and addressed in the treatment of multi-traumatized refugees in outpatient psychiatric clinics, in addition to mental health problems, knowing that chronic pain can increase the duration and the severity of mental disorders (Villano et al. 2007; Carlsson et al. 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Background Traumatized refugees often report significant levels of chronic pain in addition to posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms, and more information is needed to understand pain in refugees exposed to traumatic events. This study aimed to assess the frequency of chronic pain among refugee psychiatric outpatients, and to compare outpatients with and without chronic pain on trauma exposure, psychiatric morbidity, and psychiatric symptom severity. Methods We conducted a cross-sectional study of sixty-one psychiatric outpatients with a refugee background using structured clinical diagnostic interviews to assess for traumatic events [Life Events Checklist (LEC)], PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder) and complex PTSD [Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV PTSD Module (SCID-PTSD) and Structured Interview for Disorders of Extreme Stress (SIDES)], chronic pain (SIDES Scale VI) and psychiatric symptoms [M.I.N.I. International Neuropsychiatric Interview (M.I.N.I.)]. Self-report measures were used to assess symptoms of postraumatic stress [Impact of Event Scale-revised (IES-R)], depression and anxiety [Hopkins Symptom Checklist (HSCL-25)] and several markers of acculturation in Norway. Results Of the 61 outpatients included, all but one reported at least one chronic pain location, with a mean of 4.6 locations per patient. Chronic pain at clinical levels was present in 66% of the whole sample of outpatients, and in 88% of the outpatients with current PTSD diagnosis. The most prevalent chronic pain locations were head (80%), chest (74%), arms/legs (66%) and back (62%). Women had significantly more chronic pain locations than men. Comorbid PTSD and chronic pain were found in 57% of the outpatients. Significant differences were found between outpatients with and without chronic pain on posttraumatic stress, psychological distress, and DESNOS severity. Conclusions Chronic pains are common in multi-traumatized refugees in outpatient clinics in Norway, and are positively related to symptomatology and severity of psychiatric morbidity. The presence of chronic pain, as well as comorbid chronic pain and PTSD, in psychiatric outpatients with a refugee background call for an integrated assessment and treatment for both conditions.
    03/2015; DOI:10.1186/s40359-015-0064-5
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    • "In earlier Danish studies of a multidisciplinary treatment of tortured refugees, no substantial changes in mental health were observed at 9 months follow-up (Carlsson, Mortensen, & Kastrup, 2005), and a minor decrease in some symptoms was observed between 9 and 23 months (Carlsson et al., 2010). The latter finding may reflect regression toward the mean or the natural course of symptoms in the cohort. "
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    ABSTRACT: To examine sustainability of symptom outcomes of a 1-year phase-based trauma-focused, multimodal, and multicomponent group therapy in a day treatment program for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) over an average period of 7 years. Iranian and Afghan patients (N = 69) were assessed with self-rated symptom checklists for PTSD, anxiety, and depression symptoms before (T1), after (T2), and up to 11 years upon completion of the treatment (T3). A series of mixed model regression analyses was applied to determine the course of the measured symptoms over time. At T2, all symptoms were reduced, but PTSD symptoms showed the strongest reduction. The trend of symptom reduction continued up to 5 years posttreatment and was similar for all the examined symptoms. After 5 years, all symptoms started to worsen, but remained under baseline levels at T3. The applied treatment appears to improve mental health of the studied sample on both the short and longer term.
    Journal of Clinical Psychology 04/2014; 70(4). DOI:10.1002/jclp.22035 · 2.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In this paper we review research evidence on psychosocial interventions for adult survivors of torture and trauma. We identified 40 studies from 1980 to 2010 that investigated interventions for adult survivors of torture and trauma. Population subtypes include resettled refugees, asylum seekers, displaced persons, and persons resident in their country of origin. Settings include specialized services for torture and trauma, specialized tertiary referral clinics, community settings, university settings, as well as psychiatric and multidisciplinary mental health services. Interventions were delivered as individual or group treatments and lasted from a single session to 19 years duration. The studies employed randomized controlled trials, nonrandomized comparison studies and single cohort follow-up studies. In all, 36 of the 40 studies (90%) demonstrated significant improvements on at least one outcome indicator after an intervention. Most studies (60%) included participants who had high levels of posttraumatic stress symptomatology. Improvements in symptoms of posttraumatic stress, depression, anxiety, and somatic symptoms were found following a range of interventions. Little evidence was available with regard to the effect on treatment outcomes of the amount, type, or length of treatment, the influence of patient characteristics, maintenance of treatment effects, and treatment outcomes other than psychiatric symptomatology. The review highlights the need for more carefully designed research that addresses the shortcomings of current studies and that integrates the experience of expert practitioners.
    Transcultural Psychiatry 07/2012; 49(3-4):539-67. DOI:10.1177/1363461512447608 · 0.99 Impact Factor
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