The First Known Case of PTSD

military man

For many years, trauma has been a topic of discussion due to the lasting impact it has had on soldiers returning from war. It has long been an accepted part of the human condition and part of how we react to troubling or tragic incidents. However, over time, there has been a shift in how we understand post-traumatic stress disorder. Now, multiple incidents of various kinds are known to cause post-traumatic stress.

If you need practical, concrete ways to deal with the symptoms of post-traumatic stress, read "9 Ways to Deal with the Daily Effects of PTSD" today.

The PTSD Timeline

What is now known as post-traumatic stress or PTSD was first called “nostalgia” by Swiss physicians in 1678. It wasn’t until the 1700s that physicians began to study the disorder and it was classified into three stages by Dominique Jean Larrey, a French surgeon under Napoleon and innovator regarding battlefield triage and medical. This includes heightened excitement and imagination, a period of fever and gastrointestinal issues, and frustration and depression. Throughout the centuries, as more and more individuals began to suffer from PTSD, there have been major developments regarding how we understand the condition, including important discoveries in the 1900s and into the 2000s.

  • 1861-1865: The United States’ military physicians document stress in Civil War soldiers.
  • 1905: The Russian Army considers “battle shock” to be a legitimate medical condition.
  • 1917-1919: Soldiers’ distress is called “shell shock” during World War I.
  • 1946: The National Mental Health Act is passed, opening the door for the expansion of mental health facilities.
  • 1980: The official designation “post-traumatic stress disorder” is added to DSM-III.
  • 2005: Post-traumatic stress disorder is brought to the attention of the public on PBS FRONTLINE and “The Soldier’s Heart” documentary.

While PTSD was initially coined to diagnose soldiers of war, there have been massive changes in the way accident victims are diagnosed.

How the Understanding of PTSD Has Changed

Although most people link PTSD with post-war trauma, military combat is not the only event that can cause individuals to suffer from PTSD. Post-traumatic stress disorders can develop after any stressful, freighting or distressing event. Some types of events can include terrorist acts, serious auto accidents, sexual assault, pedestrian collisions, and any other incident that causes harm has been linked to PTSD in many survivors.

PTSD develops in about 1 of 3 people who experience severe trauma. Research is still needed to understand why some survivors develop the condition while others don’t.

There are links to dissociation, depression, seasonal affective disorder, and more. These mental health conditions all impact the daily lives of the individuals dealing with PTSD. Because advocates for trauma victim frequently inform the public about PTSD, people are more aware of what it takes to heal. Therapy, medication, and other treatments exist to help those in need.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is nothing to ignore. For victims suffering with the condition, it is a constant reminder of the traumatic time in their lives. For the families of victims, it is something that requires attention and care. Don’t let PTSD go untreated.

Here are some good resources you can use for more information about treatment and recovery:

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