Article

[Chronic pain in traumatized refugees].

Avdeling for forskning og undervisning, Psykiatrisk divisjon, Ullevål universitetssykehus 0407 Oslo.
Tidsskrift for den Norske laegeforening 03/2006; 126(5):608-10.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The purpose of this article is to describe the prevalence of chronic pain in traumatized refugees. Further, we sought to identify the possible associations between pain and psychosocial factors, reported traumatic events, and posttraumatic stress disorder.
Seventy-two patients (40%) were followed up 3 to 8 years after contact with a psychiatric outpatient clinic at the Psychosocial Centre for Refugees in the University of Oslo. Of the men, 83 % had been imprisoned before flight, of the women, 44%. In this study data was collected at onset of treatment and at follow up by a semi-structured interview. We included data on pain, previously experienced traumatic events, socio-demographic information, social support and psychiatric symptoms using the Hopkins symptom check list-25, the symptom scale of Harvard trauma questionnaire, and a screening for a diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder according to the DSM-IV. Additionally, general assessment of functioning was estimated. Chronic pain was defined as suffering continuously from serious pain over the last 6 months.
Forty-seven (65%) patients reported they had problems with chronic pain; out of these, 34 (72%) reported they experienced severe pain. No significant association was found between type or number of traumatic event and chronic pain. Significant association was found between severe chronic pain, posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression scores, general assessment of functioning, and medium/low social support. A significant association was found between severe chronic pain and the frequency of consultations with a general practitioner. Inquiry about and treatment for chronic severe pain should be included in the rehabilitation of traumatized refugees.

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