[Psychiatric disorders caused by global social change. Traumatization among the inhabitants of the former GDR].Fortschr Neurol Psychiatr 2002; 70(8):418-28FN
More than a decennium after the reunion of East and West Germany, the psychological sequelae of traumatic experiences of East Germans are still evident. There were not only about 300 000 people imprisoned for political reasons in the German Democratic Republic between 1945 and 1989, partly exposed to physical and psychological torture, but also much more people subject of subthreshold traumatic experiences by harassment in public and private life. As a result, under a psychiatric perspective it should be taken into account not only specific post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD), characterized by relieving of the traumata in intrusive flashbacks, avoidance of circumstances associated with the traumatic experiences, and increased psychological sensitivity and arousal, but also specific Adjustment disorders, or cultural shocks: many people of the former GDR had to deal with adjustment difficulties of different types to the new cultural environment after the reunion, which could be characterized as becoming intimate with post-modern Western culture within a process of identity development. This process encloses different phases or stages discussed under psychopathologic and psychodynamic perspective.