Background: A substantial
amount of refugees (10–30%) suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
In Denmark there are different facilities specialised in psychiatric treatment
of trauma-affected refugees. A previously published case report from such a
facility in Denmark shows that some patients suffer from secondary psychotic
symptoms alongside their PTSD.
The aim of this
study was to illustrate the characteristics and estimate the prevalence of
psychotic features in a clinical population of trauma-affected refugees with
records from 220 consecutive patients at Competence Centre for Transcultural
Psychiatry (CTP) were examined, and all the PTSD patients were divided into two
groups; one group with secondary psychotic features (PTSD-SP group) and one
without (PTSD group). A categorisation and description of the secondary
psychotic features was undertaken.
Results: One hundred
eighty-one patients were diagnosed with PTSD among which psychotic symptoms
were identified in 74 (40.9, 95% CI 33.7–48.1%). The majority of symptoms
identified were auditory hallucinations (66.2%) and persecutory delusions
(50.0%). There were significantly more patients diagnosed with enduring
personality change after catastrophic experience in the PTSD-SP group than in
the PTSD group (P = 0.009). Furthermore the PTSD-SP group included
significantly more patients exposed to torture (P = 0.001) and imprisonment
(P = 0.005).
Conclusion: This study
provides an estimation of PTSD-SP prevalence in a clinical refugee population
with PTSD. The study points to the difficulties distinguishing psychotic
features from flashbacks and the authors call for attention to psychotic
features in PTSD patients in order to improve documentation and understanding
of the disorder.
PTSD, Psychotic symptoms, PTSD, PTSD-SP, Refugees