Substance use among American Indians and Alaska natives: incorporating culture in an "indigenist" stress-coping paradigm.
OBJECTIVES: This article proposes a new stress-coping model for American Indians and Alaska Natives (AIs) that reflects a paradigmatic shift in the conceptualization of Native health. It reviews sociodemographic information on AIs, rates of substance abuse and related health outcomes, and the research supporting the model's pathways. OBSERVATIONS: Although health outcomes among AIs are improving, large disparities with other racial and ethnic groups in the United States remain. Many health-related problems are directly linked to high rates of substance use and abuse. CONCLUSION: Eurocentric paradigms focus on individual pathology. An "indigenist" perspective of health incorporates the devastating impact of historical trauma and ongoing oppression of AIs. The model emphasizes cultural strengths, such as the family and community, spirituality and traditional healing practices, and group identity attitudes. (+info)
Khat use as risk factor for psychotic disorders: a cross-sectional and case-control study in Somalia.
BACKGROUND: Little is known about the prevalence of khat-induced psychotic disorders in East African countries, where the chewing of khat leaves is common. Its main psycho-active component cathinone produces effects similar to those of amphetamine. We aimed to explore the prevalence of psychotic disorders among the general population and the association between khat use and psychotic symptoms. METHODS: In an epidemiological household assessment in the city of Hargeisa, North-West Somalia, trained local interviewers screened 4,854 randomly selected persons from among the general population for disability due to severe mental problems. The identified cases were interviewed based on a structured interview and compared to healthy matched controls. Psychotic symptoms were assessed using the items of the WHO Composite International Diagnostic Interview and quantified with the Positive and Negative Symptoms Scale. Statistical testing included Student's t-test and ANOVA. RESULTS: Local interviewers found that rates of severe disability due to mental disorders were 8.4% among males (above the age of 12) and differed according to war experiences (no war experience: 3.2%; civilian war survivors: 8.0%; ex-combatants: 15.9%). The clinical interview verified that in 83% of positive screening cases psychotic symptoms were the most prominent manifestations of psychiatric illness. On average, cases with psychotic symptoms had started to use khat earlier in life than matched controls and had been using khat 8.6 years before positive symptoms emerged. In most cases with psychotic symptoms, a pattern of binge use (> two 'bundles' per day) preceded the onset of psychotic symptoms, in contrast to controls of the same age. We found significant correlations between variables of khat consumption and clinical scales (0.35 to 0.50; p < 0.05), and between the age of onset of khat chewing and symptom onset (0.70; p <0.001). CONCLUSION: Evidence indicates a relationship between the consumption of khat and the onset of psychotic symptoms among the male population, whereby not the khat intake per se but rather early onset and excessive khat chewing seemed to be related to psychotic symptoms. The khat problem must be addressed by means other than prohibition, given the widespread use and its role in Somali culture. (+info)
'Goodbye and good luck': the mental health needs and treatment experiences of British ex-service personnel.
BACKGROUND: Little is known about the psychological health or treatment experiences of those who have left the British armed forces. AIMS: To describe the frequency and associations of common mental disorders and help-seeking behaviours in a representative sample of UK veterans at high risk of mental health problems. METHOD: A cross-sectional telephone survey of 496 'vulnerable' ex-service personnel selected from an existing epidemiological military cohort. RESULTS: The response rate was 64%; 44% of these had a psychiatric diagnosis, most commonly depression. Those with a diagnosis were more likely to be of lower rank and divorced or separated. Just over half of those with self-reported mental health problems were currently seeking help, most from their general practitioners. Most help-seekers received treatment, usually medication; 28% were in touch with a service charity and 4% were receiving cognitive-behavioural therapy. CONCLUSIONS: Depression is more common than post-traumatic stress disorder in UK ex-service personnel. Only about half of those who have a diagnosis are seeking help currently, and few see specialists. (+info)
Clinical holistic medicine: holistic treatment of rape and incest trauma.
Studies indicate that at least 15% of the female population in western countries has experienced sexual abuse and severe sexual traumas. This paper explains how even serious sexual abuse and trauma can be healed when care and resources encourage the patient to return to the painful life events. When the physician cares and receives the trust of the patient, emotional holding and processing will follow quite naturally. Spontaneous regression seems to be an almost pain-free way of integrating the severe traumas from earlier experiences of rape and incest. This technique is a recommended alternative to classical timeline therapy using therapeutic commands. When traumatized patients distance themselves from their soul (feelings, sexuality, and existential depth), they often lose their energy and enjoyment of life. However, this does not mean that they are lost to life. Although it may seem paradoxical, a severe trauma may be a unique opportunity to regain enjoyment of life. The patient will often be richly rewarded for the extensive work of clearing and sorting out in order to experience a new depth in his or her existence and emotional life, with a new ability to understand life in general and other people in particular. So what may look like a tragedy can be transformed into a unique gift; if the patient gets sufficient support, there is the possibility of healing and learning. Consciousness-based medicine seems to provide severely traumatized patients with the quality of support and care needed for their soul to heal. (+info)
Pathological responses to terrorism.
Many important gains have been made in understanding PTSD and other responses to trauma as a result of neuroscience-based observations. Yet there are many gaps in our knowledge that currently impede our ability to predict those who will develop pathologic responses. Such knowledge is essential for developing appropriate strategies for mounting a mental health response in the aftermath of terrorism and for facilitating the recovery of individuals and society. This paper reviews clinical and biological studies that have led to an identification of pathologic responses following psychological trauma, including terrorism, and highlights areas of future-research. It is important to not only determine risk factors for the development of short- and long-term mental health responses to terrorism, but also apply these risk factors to the prediction of such responses on an individual level. It is also critical to consider the full spectrum of responses to terrorism, as well as the interplay between biological and psychological variables that contribute to these responses. Finally, it is essential to remove the barriers to collecting data in the aftermath of trauma by creating a culture of education in which the academic community can communicate to the public what is and is not known so that survivors of trauma and terrorism will understand the value of their participation in research to the generation of useful knowledge, and by maintaining the acquisition of knowledge as a priority for the government and those involved in the immediate delivery of services in the aftermath of large-scale disaster or trauma. (+info)
An integrative model of pediatric medical traumatic stress.
OBJECTIVE: To guide assessment and intervention for patients and families, a model for assessing and treating pediatric medical traumatic stress (PMTS) is presented that integrates the literature across pediatric conditions. METHODS: A model with three general phases is outlined--I, peritrauma; II, early, ongoing, and evolving responses; and III, longer-term PMTS. Relevant literature for each is reviewed and discussed with respect to implications for intervention for patients and families. RESULTS: Commonalities across conditions, the range of normative responses to potentially traumatic events (PTEs), the importance of preexisting psychological well-being, developmental considerations, and a social ecological orientation are highlighted. CONCLUSIONS: Growing empirical support exists to guide the development of assessment and intervention related to PMTS for patients with pediatric illness and their parents. The need for interventions across the course of pediatric illness and injury that target patients, families, and/or healthcare teams is apparent. The model provides a basis for further development of evidence-based treatments. (+info)
Feasibility and preliminary outcomes from a pilot study of a brief psychological intervention for families of children newly diagnosed with cancer.
OBJECTIVE: To report initial feasibility and outcome from a pilot study of a new three-session intervention for caregivers of children newly diagnosed with cancer, Surviving Cancer Competently Intervention Program-Newly Diagnosed (SCCIP-ND). METHOD: Nineteen families (38 caregivers) were randomly assigned to SCCIP-ND or treatment as usual subsequent to learning of their child's illness. The study design included pre- and 2-month postintervention assessments, with state anxiety and posttraumatic stress symptoms as outcomes. Feasibility was based on therapist feedback and supervision, program evaluations, and data from study-tracking procedures. RESULTS: SCCIP-ND appears to be an acceptable intervention that can be used successfully with caregivers over the first few months after diagnosis. Recruitment and retention data document feasibility but also highlight challenges. Preliminary outcome data show changes in the desired direction [e.g., reduced anxiety and parental posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS)]. CONCLUSIONS: The pilot data are supportive of the value and challenges of developing evidence-based family interventions in pediatric psychology. (+info)
Characterizing time in longitudinal trauma research.
Despite the proliferation of longitudinal trauma research, careful attention to timing of assessments is often lacking. Patterns in timing of assessments, alternative time structures, and the treatment of time as an outcome are discussed and illustrated using trauma data. (+info)