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War Traumatizes Iraqis
CAIRO — Four years since the US-led invasion, endless scenes of blood and violence are having severe mental toll on Iraqis, particularly young children, The Washington Times reported on Tuesday, March 20.
"Whenever I remember seeing his body at the morgue, I start to cry," Fanzia Jaafer, 65, said of her 29-year-old as she sat in a psychiatrist clinic.
The Iraqi housewife has been suffering depression and suicidal thoughts since the head of her son was torn off by gunfire in late 2003.
Jaafer's case is one of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, Iraqi mental health professionals insist.
"Iraqis are being traumatized every day," asserted Said Al-Hashimi, a psychiatrist who runs a private clinic and teaches at Mustansiriya Medical School in Baghdad.
He warned that the psychological trauma of the war may echo through Iraqi society for years to come.
"No one knows what will result from living through this continuous trauma on a daily basis."
In the government-run Ibn Rushd psychiatric center in Baghdad, the queues of Iraqis looking for help are almost endless.
There has been no large-scale study of mental health in Iraq since the invasion but experts insist that the number of untreated or undertreated people nationwide is in the millions.
"There is little interest from the government. We ask for training and assistance but get nothing," lamented Dr. Haider Adel Ali.
US President George Bush invaded Iraq in March 2003 on the grounds that it had weapons of mass destruction, a claim later refuted by a US presidential report.