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Minerva Psychiatry 2022 March;63(1):52-60

DOI: 10.23736/S2724-6612.21.02170-1


language: English

Evaluation of post-traumatic dissociative experiences acquired by war veterans from the 101st Tank Brigade, in Angola

Eugénia C. BARROS , Martinho LUEMBA, Job M. JAMA-ANTÓNIO

Department of Neurological Sciences and Mental Health, Faculty of Medicine, Agostinho Neto University, Luanda, Angola

BACKGROUND: After twenty-seven years of war in Angola, psychological disorders require detailed assistance. It is notable that the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) still corresponds to one of the most neglected pathologies in the country, both due to the limited integrated network of mental health services and the scarcity of studies. Nevertheless, this study aim was to assess PTSD prevalence and factors that are associated with higher PTSD prevalence.
METHODS: This study employed a cross-sectional study design and data collection was undertaken in one of the combat units of the Angolan Armed Forces. Respondents were aged 40 years and above and were randomly selected at the brigade. A total of 71 veterans answered a structured form for the diagnosis of PTSD. In this study, Cramer’s V was employed to analyze the association of socio-demographic factors, war related variables, and the outcome of PTSD.
RESULTS: The prevalence of PTSD in the study population was 75%, distributed by the number of symptoms of the respective dissociative experiences with 43% of isolation, 32% of re-experience, and 25% of hyperexcitability. Alcohol was the most consumed psychoactive substance, represented by 44% of the cases and had a moderate association with PTSD. However, the study showed a weak association between religious belief, military situation, and PTSD.
CONCLUSIONS: The study revealed a high prevalence of PTSD among war veterans, and isolation was the predominant dissociative experience. The only factor moderately associated with PTSD was the use of psychoactive drugs.

KEY WORDS: Stress disorders, traumatic; Veterans; Combat disorders

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