War Psychiatry: Identifying and Managing the Neuropsychiatric Consequences of Armed Conflicts

J Prim Care Community Health. 2022 Jan-Dec:13:21501319221106625. doi: 10.1177/21501319221106625.


War refugees and veterans have been known to frequently develop neuropsychiatric conditions including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and anxiety disorders that tend to leave a long-lasting scar and impact their emotional response system. The shear stress, trauma, and mental breakdown from overnight displacement, family separation, and killing of friends and families cannot be described enough. Victims often require years of mental health support as they struggle with sleep difficulties, recurring memories, anxiety, grief, and anger. Everyone develops their coping mechanism which can involve dependence and long-term addiction to alcohol, drugs, violence, or gambling. The high prevalence of mental health disorders during and after the war indicates an undeniable necessity for screening those in need of treatment. For medical health professionals, it is crucial to identify such vulnerable groups who are prone to developing neuropsychiatric morbidities and associated risk factors. It is pivotal to develop and deploy effective and affordable multi-sectoral collaborative care models and therapy, which primarily depends upon family and primary care physicians in the conflict zones. Herein, we provide a brief overview regarding the identification and management of vulnerable populations, alongside discussing the challenges and possible solutions to the same.

Keywords: PTSD; conflict; depression; neuropsychiatric effects; refugees; stigma; treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Armed Conflicts / psychology
  • Humans
  • Psychiatry*
  • Refugees* / psychology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic* / epidemiology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic* / therapy
  • Veterans*