Iraq: New research highlights link between FGM/C and mental disorders

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New data out of Iraq shows what many psychologists suspected though little research has confirmed: Girls who have undergone female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) are more prone to mental disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Results of the research – conducted by Jan Ilhan Kizilhan of the University of Freiburg, an expert in psychotraumatology (psychotherapy for people who have suffered extreme trauma) – were published in the April-June 2011 edition of the European Journal of Psychiatry.

Kizilhan found “alarmingly high rates” of PTSD (44 percent), depression (34 percent), anxiety (46 percent) and somatic disturbances (mental disorders whose symptoms are unexplainable physical illnesses – 37 percent) among a group of 79 circumcised girls in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq, aged 8-14, who did not otherwise suffer any traumatic events.

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