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Reasons for Not Receiving Treatment in People With Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Following War

Jankovic, Jelena MRCPsych, MD*; Vidakovic, Ivana MA; Matanov, Aleksandra BA*; Schützwohl, Matthias PhD; Ljubotina, Damir PhD§; Lecic-Tosevski, Dusica PhD; Priebe, Stefan FRCPsych, MD*

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: February 2011 - Volume 199 - Issue 2 - p 100-105
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e3182083db5
Original Articles

The aim of the study was to explore why people suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following war do not receive treatment. A total of 212 participants who have PTSD following war in the Balkans and have never received psychiatric treatment were interviewed (86 in Western Europe and 126 in Balkan countries). Answers were subjected to thematic content analysis. Five major and not mutually exclusive themes were identified: “need no help” (57 participants), “personal ways of coping” (72 participants), “negative attitude towards psychiatric treatment” (91 participants), “comparative insignificance” (24 participants), and “external barriers” (65 participants). While most participants, for different reasons, did not want to seek psychiatric treatment, a significant number, particularly in Western European countries, felt prevented from receiving treatment.

*Unit for Social and Community Psychiatry, Barts and the London School of Medicine, Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom; †International Aid Network, Belgrade, Serbia; ‡Klinik und Poliklinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie, University of Dresden, Dresden, Germany; §Department of Psychology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia; and ¶Institute of Mental Health, School of Medicine, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia.

Supported by the European Commission within the Fifth Framework Programme, contract number ICA2-CT-2002–10002′.

Send reprint requests to Jelena Jankovic, MRCPsych, MD, Academic Unit, Newham Centre for Mental Health, Cherry Tree Way, Glen Road, London E13 8SP, United Kingdom. E-mail:

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.