Late Mental Health Changes in Tortured Refugees in Multidisciplinary Treatment
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.