The Neuropsychological Consequences of Armed Conflicts and Torture

Neurology of Systemic Diseases (J Biller, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Neurology of Systemic Disease


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.

Recent Findings

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.


Refugees 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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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Neurology, Nationwide Children’s HospitalThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  2. 2.Department of Emergency MedicineThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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