psychology In Iraq is unlike any other field of medicine, was always a dark spot….in the era of the pan-Arabism dictator Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi government didn’t work on improving psychological medicine, due to fear that it might open wide doors to a nation horrified by wars, and will expose the deep devastation in the Iraqi society.
The only allowed therapy in that time was Electrical shocking (electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) which was banned from many parts of the world -except Iraq- due to the extreme severe pain that it uses to heal the chemical activity of the brain, which is considered ethically impossible to use.
At that time people who have depression or any psychological disorder would hide it to avoid the harsh treatment and to avoid being put in ( Ibn-Rushid) psychiatric Quarantine Hospital, which is a nightmare for any human being…
This concept led Iraqi people to have a fixed idea that to see a psychiatrist is insane, … what can a therapist do to you, you are not crazy , you are an Iraqi ( here comes the macho part) …Iraqis seen a lot , nothing will hurt you anymore…you are a man ( here comes the sexist-religious part) only women get problems becomes they have no brain… and a LIST , but a stupid list unlike our LIST, of reasons to not think about it in the right way, this has made Iraqis have this dull concept about psychological problems
When dealing with Iraqi refugees we must expect a PTS in addition to depression and anxiety or other issues, but most important and the first step is that we must make them realize that going to a therapist is like going to the Dentist, you have to get your brain checked just like your teeth, its not a shame , not a sign of insanity( and if it is then its fine, you could be even elected as a president one day, look at Bush)… its also not a sign of being a woman( as if this is the worse thing that could happen to you…look at Britney Spears)
Depression is like diabetes, there are levels of depression, the most dangerous type is the one that strikes for moments, it’s a severe and dangerous type that is not very common among many people in the US, but could exist in some of the Iraqi refugees who arrive to the US because of what they have passed through… this depression if not controlled could lead to suicide, even if the person is not suicidal…. It hits when the person is alone, it could last between seconds to an hour, it starts with an idea that comes as a flash that looks like a speedy bus horning in your ear, then the breath becomes abnormal the eye pupil widens, hyper light-sensitivity, severe pain in the chest and in the neck, and when it ends, the person feels noxious and that he needs to use the toilet so fast. Some people decide to spend the whole attack time in the bathroom with lights turned off…. This phase will last for one year, and if not treated the brain will think that it’s a good technique to deal with high levels of abnormality that it suffers from, and the case will develop into becoming strikes when people are around, until it reaches the phase that it will become a daily life, and then the person will go banana..
Iraqis need to understand that its NOT Ok to have depression, actually its dangerous, and that it is not true that going to a Therapist , is a western thing of luxury… therapists could be available free of charge at many excellent universities… and they need to understand that the human unconscious brain is very smart, smarter than us , once it realizes , that we are safe and sound in the US, it starts to deal with what it had to let go for us to survive a very brutal life, I mean after all, we passed through many years of endless wars and economical sanctions and terrorism, being refugees…and now the worst nightmare of all, to see Bush as our president