A history of psychotraumatology

every man has his breaking point

"I felt then, as I feel now, that the politicians who took is to war should have been given the guns and told to settle their differences themselves, instead of organizing nothing better than legalizing mass murder. -Harry Patch (last surviving soldier of World War 1)

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post Traumatic stress Disorder (Ptsd) is defined as a condition of persistent mental and emotional stress occurring as a result of injury or severe psychological shock, typically involving disturbance of sleep and constant vivid recall of the experience, with dulled responses to others and to the outside world. The many symptoms of PTSD include; flashbacks, nightmares, and anxiety.Ptsd was usually triggered by seeing or hearing a traumatic event. For the men in the war, it usually followed after they got a concussion from a bomb that went off nearby or any other traumatic event. Ptsd was then triggered by a loud noise or something that reminded the men of an event that happen around them and from there then men would go into a stress reaction which could include extreme hyperactivity or other uncontrolled nerve movements. Ptsd was very hard to treat in WW1 because of the little physiologic knowledge of the disorder. Treatment usually was the nurses trying to suppress the outbursts by restraining them and using muscle memory to usually get the twitching or episodes to go away.

"Shell shocked" syndrome

The "Shell-shocked" disease came from Ptsd. Concussions usually caused by the impact of shells; this impact was believed to disrupt the brain and cause “shell shock”. Shell shock was characterized by “the dazed, disoriented state many soldiers experienced during combat or shortly thereafter” (Scott, 1990, p. 296). However, even soldiers who were not exposed to exploding shells were experiencing similar symptoms (Scott, 1990). Thus, it was assumed that soldiers who experienced these symptoms were cowardly and weak. Treatment was brief, consisting only of a few days of comfort, with the “firm expectation that the soldier return to duty” (Scott, 1990, p. 296). Because 65% of shell-shocked soldiers ultimately returned to the front lines, treatment was considered a success (Scott, 1990).

“loss of memory, insomnia, terrifying dreams, pains, emotional instability, diminution of self-confidence and self-control, attacks of unconsciousness or of changed consciousness sometimes accompanied by convulsive movements resembling those characteristic of epileptic fits, incapacity to understand any but the simplest matters, obsessive thoughts, usually of the gloomiest and most painful kind, even in some cases hallucinations and incipient delusions…[These symptoms] make life for some of their victims a veritable hell” (Smith & Pear, 1918, pp. 12-13).

WW1 War Neuroses

My reaction

This project has been my favorite by far. I've always wanted to work with mental/emotional disabled patients and this project really opened my eyes to what these diseases were really like. The real symptoms of what these people had to go through really hit me the hardest because to know and see what these people really had to go through are astonishing. I really hope when I'm older I get opportunities to work with people who have been diagnosed with the diseases I have learned about.