TRAUMATIC EVENTS AND POSTTRAUMATIC STRESS AMONG IRAQI KURDISH “ANFAL” SURVIVORS
Background: The 1988 “Anfal” military operations against Kurds of northern Iraq yielded high rates of morbidity and mortality. The present study aims to determine traumatic events experienced by “Anfal” survivors and level of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in Kurdistan region of Iraq.
Methods: One hundred thirty “Anfal” survivors were selected randomly from different populations in Duhok city/ Iraqi Kurdistan. They were interviewed and assessed psychologically using Harvard Trauma Questionnaire to examine their exposure to psychological traumas and to study the posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptomatology among them.
Results: “Anfal” survivors were exposed to various types of traumas. All respondents experienced lack of shelter, food and water and ill health without access to medical care. Witnessing murder was the most common traumatic event experienced by the participants. PTSD was found in (86.2%) of the respondents. Female gender was a significant risk factor associated with the diagnosis of PTSD.
Conclusions: “Anfal” survivors experienced multiple traumatic events with high rates of PTSD. Exposure to this disaster situation had a big impact on psychological status viewing huge needs in mental health among those survivors.
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