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Shelter From the Storm

Psychiatric Diagnosis and Treatment of the Refugee Patient

Rothe, Eugenio M. MD*; Pumariega, Andres J. MD; Mihajlovic, Aida S. MD; May, Catherine MD§; Ruiz, Pedro MD; Perras, Nicole MD

Addictive Disorders & Their Treatment: September 2019 - Volume 18 - Issue 3 - p 121–133
doi: 10.1097/ADT.0000000000000164
Original Article

In the last 3 years the numbers of forcibly displaced people around the world has reached a record high. Experiences of war, persecution, violence, torture, participating in the killing of others, disruptions of attachments, and emotional losses increase the risk for psychological distress and may contribute to the risk of developing psychiatric and substance abuse disorders. The authors review the existing psychiatric literature on refugees, discuss the sociological reasons that explain the recent crisis, describe the psychiatric consequences, the risk factors and protective factors of the refugee experience, narrate the current conditions in refugee camps located in Greece and discuss the most up-to-date treatment modalities and preventive interventions to treat this patient population.

*Psychiatry and Public Health, Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, Florida International University, Miami

Department of Psychiatry, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Florida College of Medicine and UF Health, Gainesville, FL

Department of Psychiatry, University of Illinois College of Medicine, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, Chicago Medical School, Chicago, IL

§Department of Psychiatry, George Washington University School of Medicine and Life Sciences

Department of Psychiatry, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, Washington, DC

Department of Psychiatry, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Reprints: Eugenio M. Rothe, MD, Department of Psychiatry and Public Health, Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, Florida International University, 2199 Ponce de Leon Boulevard, Suite 304, Coral Gables, FL 33134 (e-mail:

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