A Neurobiological Perspective of Mental Health Following Torture Trauma

  • Belinda J. LiddellEmail author
  • Richard A. Bryant


Torture can have significant long-term ramifications for the psychological and physical health of survivors. Here, we review the current neurobiological literature that suggests torture may have specific effects on the structure and functioning of the brain, perceptual and emotional functioning, and autonomic and neuroendocrinergic responses. We discuss these findings in the context of current neural models of PTSD, complex PTSD and the dissociative PTSD subtype. We also suggest that furthering the understanding of the neural impact of torture can only be achieved by conducting research that targets key disruptions characteristic to the interpersonal, prolonged and uncontrollable nature of torture trauma itself. Such research focusing on specific mechanisms underpinning the psychological effects of torture is critical to informing targeted treatments to alleviate suffering and promote recovery amongst survivors.


Torture Refugee Trauma PTSD Neuroimaging Brain Perception Emotion Social 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PsychologyUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia

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