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All Forms of Ill Treatment Cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder-PTSD

A study report based on detainee interrogations finds that forms of ill treatment during captivity that do not involve physical pain—such as psychological// manipulation, deprivation, humiliation and forced stress position also cause as much mental distress and traumatic stress as physical torture.

Most widely accepted definitions of torture encompass both physical and mental pain and suffering, according to background information in the article. "After reports of human rights abuses by the U.S. military in Guantanamo Bay, Iraq and Afghanistan, a U.S. Defense Department working group report on detainee interrogations and a U.S. Justice Department memorandum on U.S. torture policy argued for a fairly narrow definition of torture that excludes mental pain and suffering caused by various acts that do not cause severe physical pain," the study authors write. The detention and interrogation procedures that are excluded from this definition include blindfolding and hooding, forced nudity, isolation and psychological manipulations.

Metin Basoglu, M.D., Ph.D., King’s College, University of London, and colleagues interviewed 279 survivors of torture from Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Luka in Republica Srpska, Rijeka in Croatia and Belgrade in Serbia between 2000 and 2002. The survivors (average age 44.4, 86.4 percent men) were asked which of 54 war-related stressors and 46 different forms of torture they had experienced. Each participant then rated each event on scales of zero to four for distress (where zero was not at all distressing and four was extremely distressing) and loss of control (where zero was completely in control and four was not at all in control or completely helpless). Then, they reported how distressed or out of control they felt overall during the torture. Clinicians also assessed the survivors for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other psychiatric conditions.

The participants reported an average of 19 wa
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