Friday, February 17, 2006

Ordeals that return

People scarred by the Khmer Rouge regime are adopting Prozac to come to terms with their horrid past.

True to their Asian ethics, many people were initially circumspect about trying so-called Western drugs. Combodians have often visited herbalists for their traumas, who prescribe ineffective but high-falutin remedies. They blame their problems on the effects of bad karma.

But now, a team of psychiatrists is prescribing Prozac and Valium to deal with the national crisis. Pol Pot’s excesses caused the deaths of up to two million Cambodians.

No reliable data exist on the traumatic effects of the past, partly because people are not generally aware of the lasting impact of their experiences, said Dr. Sotheara Chhim.

"People think their past problems have been buried and don't realize that the present is connected to the past."

Out of Africa
Moral disengagement

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