Evidence-based care for Iraqi, Kurdish, and Syrian asylum seekers and refugees of the Syrian civil war: A systematic review

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To effectively aid the incoming Syrian refugees to Canada, it is necessary that adequate evidence-based psychological assistance be available. Provision of psychological services should not be contingent on PTSD diagnosis or the presence of related psychiatric disorders (e.g., depression). Rather, providing support for all help-seeking refugees, including those presenting only with subthreshold symptoms may assist persons in coping with adjustment, with potential troubles integrating into their new community and coping with anticipated sociocultural change.

There is evidence to support the use of the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire (HTQ), Hopkins Symptom Checklist-25 (HSCL-25), and Post Migrational Living Difficulties (PMLD) to exclude posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) non cases and the Clinically Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS) for diagnosis of PTSD in Iraqi, Kurdish, and Syrian refugees in Canada. Narrative Exposure Therapy (NET) is the psychological treatment with the strongest evidence base in this population. This systematic review reported on the prevalence of assessment measures, treatments, and biomarkers used in the diagnosis and treatment of PTSD in Iraqi, Kurdish, and Syrian refugees. Continued research into biomarkers as a means of improving and objectifying psychological assessment and treatment of PTSD in Canadian refugee populations is recommended.

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