How was PTSD first identified

We tend to think of PTSD as being a new trauma that affects soldiers who return from War. However, it was clear from the 1980s onwards that this was a condition that has been in existence for much longer than that. While it was officially recognised in the 1980s there was plenty of evidence prior to this that is documented by  surgeons, doctors and other medical people. This evidence leads to Trauma informed practice training like that from

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For example, the historian Herodotus from ancient Greece noticed that many soldiers he spoke to suffered long-lasting effects from their experiences in battle. Given the state of constant war that many Greek States found themselves in it was not unusual for this to be the case. Soldiers would expect to serve a full and long-term tour on the Battlefront.

The American Civil War also illustrated some cases. During the 1880s this terrible conflict gave rise to a condition called “soldier’s heart”. Away from the Battlefield soldiers experienced shortness of breath, increased palpitations and constant tiredness.

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The many traumatic experiences of the 20th century proved the existence of PTSD. It was not just related purely to soldiers. Anyone could experience these things. With two world wars that affected civilians as well as soldiers, several natural disasters and the Holocaust, it was clear that this was a long lasting mental trauma that would require more study.

The condition is much widely known and recognised today and treatment has begun in earnest.

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