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The psychological impact of torture

Williams, ACDC; Van Der Merwe, J; (2013) The psychological impact of torture. British Journal of Pain , 7 (2) 101 - 106. 10.1177/2049463713483596. Green open access

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Abstract

Many refugees in the developed world are survivors of torture and present with health needs without their traumatic experience being disclosed or identified. Chronic pain is a common problem, as are symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and other distress. Current circumstances, particularly poverty, uncertainty about asylum, separation from or loss of family and roles, and difficulties settling in the host country, all contribute to current psychological problems and exacerbate existing ones. Psychological treatment studies tend to be focused either on PTSD diagnosis and use protocol-driven treatment, usually in the developed world, or on multiple problems using multimodal treatment including advocacy and welfare interventions, usually in the developing world. Reviews of both of these, and some of the major criticisms, are described. Psychological interventions tend to produce medium-sized changes in targeted measures of distress, when compared with waiting lists or standard treatment, but these may fall well short of enabling recovery, and long-term follow-up is rare. A human rights context, with reference to cultural difference in expressing distress and seeking help, and with reference to the personal meaning of torture, is essential as a basis for formulating treatment initiatives based on the evidence reviewed.

Type: Article
Title: The psychological impact of torture
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/2049463713483596
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2049463713483596
Language: English
Additional information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 License (http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/) which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page(http://www.uk.sagepub.com/aboutus/openaccess.htm).
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1437577
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