Sleep Med Psychophysiol.  2012 Jun;19(1):35-41.

A Study of Psychiatric Problems of North Korean Refugees Who Visited a Psychiatric Clinic

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Neuropsychiatry, National Medical Center, Seoul, Korea. red0629@hanmail.net

Abstract

PURPOSE
According to the statistics announced by the Ministry of Unification, the number of North Korean refugees living in South Korea has increased by 200 on average monthly in 2010. The number of refugees increased only by 300 annually until 2000. The total number of refugees as of February 2012 was 20,956. This study aims to investigate the psychobiology of the North Korean refugees who consulted psychiatric clinics among those living daily life in South Korea.
METHODS
The subjects of this study were 85 North Korean refugees that consulted psychiatric clinics from January 1, 2005 to July 2011. This study obtained demographic and psychiatric information in a retrospective approach.
RESULTS
Among the 85 North Korean refugees, 75 (88.2%) were females and their average age was 48 years of age. A total of 16 (18.8%) were admitted to a clinic and among the inpatients, 4 were admitted twice and two were admitted three times. As for the claimed symptoms of outpatients, insomnia was shown in 47 (55.3%) patients, headaches in 37 (43.5%), anxiety in 20 (23.5%), depression in 19 (22.4%), etc. The major symptoms represented by inpatients were insomnia in 14 (87.5%) patients, depression in 12 (75%), and headaches in 8 (50%), etc.
CONCLUSION
The most frequent psychiatric symptoms of North Korean refugees living in South Korea were insomnia and headaches. It suggests that when performing psychiatric diagnosis and treatment of North Korean refugees, we have to take into consideration the fact that they claimed the physical symptoms more than the emotional ones. Also, from the aspect that most symptoms of North Korean refugees were insomnia, more profound research on sleep is required in the future.

Keyword

North Korean refugees; Sleep; Depression; Physical illness

MeSH Terms

Anxiety
Depression
Female
Headache
Humans
Inpatients
Mental Disorders
Outpatients
Refugees
Republic of Korea
Retrospective Studies
Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders
Full Text Links
  • SMP
Actions
Cited
CITED
export Copy
Close
Share
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
Similar articles
    DB Error: unknown error