Academic journal article European Journal of Psychotraumatology

Psychotraumatology in the Netherlands

Academic journal article European Journal of Psychotraumatology

Psychotraumatology in the Netherlands

Article excerpt

PSYCHOTRAUMA RESEARCH IN THE NETHERLANDS

Psychotraumatology in the Netherlands

Eric Vermetten1,2* and Miranda Olff3,4

1Military Mental Health Research Center, Ministery of Defence, Utrecht, The Netherlands; 2Department of Psychiatry, University Medical Center, Utrecht, The Netherlands; 3Department of Psychiatry, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands; 4Arq Psychotrauma Expert Group, Diemen, The Netherlands

Abstract

The contribution to psychotrauma literature from Dutch authors has a long tradition. The relatively high lifetime prevalence of trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is not unique for the Netherlands and does not fully explain the interest in trauma and its consequences. In this overview of psychotraumatology in the Netherlands, we will discuss some of the key events and processes that contribute to the current interest. We outlined the historical basis and development of the field in the Netherlands, including the impact of World War II, the effects of major man-made or natural disasters, engagement in military conflicts, as well as smaller scale traumatic events like sexual abuse and traffic accidents. The liberal and open culture may have reduced stigma to trauma, while other sociocultural aspects may have contributed to increased prevalence. Finally, we describe Dutch psychotraumatology today and how history and culture have shaped the current scientific basis.

Keywords: psychotraumatology; PTSD; Netherlands; history; review

*Correspondence to: Eric Vermetten, Military Mental Health Research Center, Lundlaan 1, 3500 EZ, Utrecht, The Netherlands, Tel: +31 30 2502591, Fax: +31 30 2502288, Email: hgjm.vermetten@mindef.nl

For the abstract or full text in other languages, please see Supplementary files under Article Tools online

This paper is part of the thematic cluster Psychotrauma research in the Netherlands - more papers from this cluster can be found at http://www.eurojnlofpsychotraumatol.net

Received: 12 March 2013; Revised: 17 March 2013; Accepted: 17 March 2013; Published: 2 May 2013

European Journal of Psychotraumatology 2013. © 2013 Eric Vermetten and Miranda Olff. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/), permitting all non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Citation: European Journal of Psychotraumatology 2013, 4 : 20832 - http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/ejpt.v4i0.20832

The contribution to psychotrauma literature from Dutch authors is relatively large as is their representation at international trauma meetings inside as well as outside Europe (Olff & Vermetten, 2013). The relatively high lifetime prevalence of PTSD of 7.4% and life trauma exposure of 81% (De Vries & Olff, 2009) is not unique for the Netherlands and is comparable to that in the US (Breslau, 2009). Therefore, it is not the prevalence of trauma or trauma related disorders that can justify its interest. Is there a specific sensitivity of the Dutch toward stress and trauma, or is this high interest rooted in history? We can see that the focus on psychotrauma has a long tradition. The contribution of the Netherlands to psychotrauma literature goes back to over 100 years ago. The first Dutch publications on this topic appeared already early in the 19th century and dealt with consequences of transportation accidents or other individual catastrophes, often labeled as traumatic neuroses (see Van der Hart, Hermans, Kleber, & Vermetten, 2012). In this overview, we will discuss some of the key events that contribute to the current interest. We will in particular focus on developments that have contributed to a research domain in psychotraumatology. We will see a returning pattern in which threats are often translated into opportunities for intervention and research. …

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