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      Mental disorder and PTSD in Syria during wartime: a national-wide crisis


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          Background: Syria has experienced war over the past seven years, leaving a high percentage of the population below the poverty line. This has significantly impacted Syrians which is reflected in the psychiatric aspect. This study evaluates the severity of the mental disorder caused by war and other factors, and evaluates the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in addition to support provided to Syrians. Methods: Online surveys including the Kessler 10 (K10) survey, the Screen for Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms (SPTSS) tool, the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPSS) and demographic and war-related questions were used for this study. Results: Our study included 1951 participants, comprising 527 (27.0%) males and 1538 (78.8%) aged (19-25) years. Of all the participants in the study, 44% had severe mental disorder, 27% had severe mental disorder with full PTSD symptoms, 36.9% had full PTSD symptoms, 79% had at least one PTSD symptom, and 10.8% had neither PTSD symptoms nor mental disorder. Only 23.2% had low overall support. Half of the responders were internally displaced and 27.6% of these participants were forced to move three times or more due to war. Only 13.4% of the responders did not believe that the crisis was the reason for their distress. Those with high SPTSS and K10 scores were found to take more days off of work or school due to negative feelings and have somatic symptoms. Moreover, low levels of education, low socioeconomic status, chronic medical conditions, war variables for example distress caused by war noises, changing place of living due to war were all associated with high distress and the presence of PTSD symptoms in this study. Strong significant correlation (r=0.623) was found between SPTSS and k10 score. Conclusion: The conflict in Syria has left the country’s population at great risk of psychological and mental distress. Drastic measures are required to save an entire population from permanent psychological suffering.

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          Research Square
          April 07 2020
          [1 ]Damascus University Faculty of Medicine
          [2 ]University of Aleppo Faculty of Medicine
          [3 ]McGill University
          [4 ]Damascus University
          © 2020


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