I ran across a Chrenkoff artical talking about a Brendan Minter WSJ piece on Iraq and Post Totalitarian Stress Disorder. Here are my comments:
You ask if there is a cure for post totalitarian stress disorder. You mention time - and yes, that is one cure.
But there are two other strong curative pills that shorten the lifetime of PTSD.
i) strong infusions of external information about democratic, peaceful societies. Such information helps people to learn the new ways. Books, television, radio, libraries, photos, Internet, email, blogging, direct involvement with foreigners and foreign organizations, all are subtle change agents that facilitate individual life behavioral modifications. The process is one of self learning, self realizations and then finally, implementation in the self.
ii) the higher the level of brutalization by the totalitarian regime the more likely the group and individuals will reassess their thinking and behaviors to fit a new replacement model way of living. Saddams regime reached down to such a depraved level of brutality that even Sharia Islamic law pales in comparison. The Iraqi people as a whole and as individuals are able to be more readily "jolted" out of the old life behaviors as a result of the realization of the stark contrasts and differences between the old way. Such realizations point people toward the benefits of potential new ways.
These pyschological aspects are very similar to any person or group who has succumbed to or was born into, what are now known as, "high mind control organizations". Such organizations use thought reform as a way of controlling and influencing the group and individual membership. A person who escapes such organizations exhibits many of the symptoms of PTSD. Indeed, these people are suffering a form of PTSD in the conventional sense.
The process of recovery is long and painful. Victims may exhibit old dysfunctions from time to time and some of the old ways can be particularly difficult to overcome. But thankfully, the end result are people who live life with renewed and heightened vigor, inspiration and "soulfulness". Their eyes widen as they overcome one concept after another and their enjoyment of life becomes all the more heightened. Indeed in many ways, such people become more passionate about their new found freedom and understanding of the true value of such freedom. They even exceed levels of appreciation that those of us who grew up in freedom and democracy can never understand - we having never lived through the horror of Saddam's regime.