We find a higher level of illness in the refugee population. Apart from psychiatric symptoms due to disorders following traumatization such as depression, addiction and suicidal tendencies, psychosomatic physical problems are frequent and severe. Given that the competence centre combines research (University of Konstanz) and practical experience (vivo), we develop significant diagnostic and therapeutic possibilities to intervene.

The aim of the CEP is to add to the knowledge of how refugees might regain mental health, thus enabling them to take over responsibility for their lives again and build up a future for their families and themselves.

Our data so far show that a refugee at the time of being admitted for the first time at an institution like ours is already on the run and/or living in Germany resp. for several years (5,5 years mean value). At that point, the trauma-related disorders are already chronic, without having been treated accordingly. Most of the patients then have already been medicated with different psychotropic drugs without having experienced any alleviation of their symptoms. Different co-morbid illnesses became manifest during their life in exile (physical illness, depression, drug addiction, personality changes etc.). Sometimes even hospitalisation because of alcohol addiction, impulse control disorders, eating disorders and para-suicidal deeds has been effected. When treating foreigners (and thinking about their integration) we often don't take into account that traumatized victims show severe problems when acting in social and professional environment  due to their disorders. They often view themselves as unworthy, helpless, ill and unable to act properly. Many of those vulnerable persons with a whole range of psychogenic physical complaints become so-called bounce back-patients when being confronted with inefficient treatment offers. 

While the physical examinations and the treatment of somatic symptoms will remain inefficient, the general practitioner will try out more and more diagnostic procedures (usually: problems with stomach and intestines, heart and circulation, chest, breathing and asthma, as well as chronic pains like sick headache) without reaching a valid statement. Of course this kind of treatment represents a useless strain of the patient as well as a burden for the health care system. Furthermore a chronification of the illnesses tends to take place thus rendering treatment increasingly impossible. Apart from that, those new stressors (due to a bad immune defence also infections and contagious deseases) may result in destroying the psychic health of patients thoroughly.