Monday, December 7, 2009

"Waves of PTSD in Sri Lanka" since 1948 independence

Sri Lanka isn't exactly a model of political stability or even geographic safety. Natural and man-made disasters have wreaked havoc on the mental health of the Sri Lankan population, according to a report in the Sri Lanka Guardian.

"After the independence in 1948, Sri Lanka experienced a series of man made and natural disasters that affected the mental health of the population. These disasters had caused waves of PTSD in Sri Lanka. Most of the posttraumatic reactions were not identified or not diagnosed and sufferers lived with the symptoms for a long time sometimes in their entire life span."

This is the first major study of PTSD in Sri Lanka, following more than 30 years of political strife. The findings are shocking:

"Based on our rough estimations 8% - 12 % of combatants are severely affected by combat stress and many of them are not under any type of treatment. According to the survey (done by Dr Neil Fernando / Dr Ruwan M Jayatunge) of psychosocial and mental health problems among the 824 combatants who were referred to the Psychiatric Unit Military Hospital Colombo from August 2002 to March 2005 found a prevalence of conditions like PTSD (6.8%) depression (15.6%) alcohol abuse (3.5%), Somatoform Disorders (7.89%) and psychiatric illnesses such as Schizophrenia Acute Transient Psychotic Disorders etc (9.4%)."

Read more here.

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