This is a long-term study of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) based on 14 Norwegian seamen who in 1984 was held captive for 67 days in Libya, falsely accused of espionage. During this time the crew was heavily subjected to psychological and physical torture. Their health situation was recorded right after the incident, half a year later, 3 ½ years later and 20 years after the imprisonment. We have compared our findings 20 years later with the previous findings. Our main focus was to find out if the seamen still suffered from PTSD. We have also focused on their families and the role of the media. This has not been done in previous studies of the seamen. Our results showed that the same persons who suffered from PTSD in 1987 also had PTSD in 2004 and these affected seamen had high co morbidity with alcohol, family problems and somatic disorders. No new members of the crew had developed psychological problems. We discovered that family members had psychological symptoms because of the imprisonment of the seamen in Libya.
In the 20 year time perspective it apears that there is a trend towards healing in the post stress disorders during the first two-tree years after the stress exposure. Based upon our limited data it looks as if two improvement had taken place in this period, but after that period in time the long term prognosis was very poor.