The Neuropsychological Consequences of Armed Conflicts and Torture
Purpose of Review
At any point in time, there are hundreds of armed conflicts throughout the world. Neuropsychological disorders are a major cause of morbidity during and after armed conflicts. Conditions such as closed and open head injuries, acute stress disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and psychosis are prevalent among survivors. Herein, we summarize information on the various forms of torture, the resultant neuropsychological pathology, and treatment strategies to help survivors.
Strategies to address the needs of individuals who experienced neuropsychological trauma due to armed conflicts and torture include pharmacological and psychological interventions. The former includes antidepressant, antianxiety, and antipsychotic medications. The latter includes narrative exposure therapy and trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy.
Neuropsychological disorders are major causes of morbidity among survivors of armed conflicts and torture. Treatment strategies must be affordable, applicable across cultures, and deliverable by individuals who understand the victims’ psychosocial and ethnic background.
KeywordsRefugees Asylum seekers War crimes Post-traumatic stress disorder Acute stress disorder
The authors wish to acknowledge the invaluable assistance of Stephanie Schulte.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
Pedro Weisleder and Caitlin Rublee declare no conflict of interest.
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
Papers of the particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance
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