Early examples of Post Traumatisk Stress Disorder?

Oct 2015
955
Norway
Can anyone tell us of causes of PTSD among soldiers (or civilians) in history?
I have read about "grenade shock" during WWII, but I can't remember any earlier examples.
Since fighting pre-20th century tended to happened on shorter ranges and you could often see the "whites of the eyes" of your enemies I should think PTSD (they didn't call it that, obviously) was pretty common?
 

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,171
US
We know they did, perhaps even worse than today, with bloody hand to hand combat and people slowly dying on the battlefield due to a lack of ability to treat them medically.
Here are some interesting articles:
Did ancient warriors suffer PTSD too? | Daily Mail Online
https://militaryhistorynow.com/2012/09/17/walking-wounded-ptsd-from-ancient-greece-to-afghanistan/
Did Roman Soldiers Suffer PTSD? ? Historia Magazine
How PTSD treatment can learn from ancient warrior rituals

By the way, the Bible, Old Testament, speaks of ritual cleansing after a blood letting. It is an interesting read.
 

aggienation

Ad Honorem
Jul 2016
9,813
USA
PTSD isn't relegated to combat. Any traumatic experience that overwhelms the psych can cause it. Furthermore, its a very suvjective diagnosis, if someone has some of these symptoms snd admits a problem to a mental health professional, they usually get diagnosed.

"Behavioral: agitation, irritability, hostility, hypervigilance, self-destructive behavior, or social isolation

Psychological: flashback, fear, severe anxiety, or mistrust

Mood: loss of interest or pleasure in activities, guilt, or loneliness

Sleep: insomnia or nightmares

Also common: emotional detachment or unwanted thoughts"

As anyone with life experience can tell, most adults who didn't live a sheltered life possess many of these and I'm sure people in history did too.
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,610
Dispargum
One can occasionally find references to veterans passing their days in drunkeness, which could be a form of self-medication. One can also find references to veterans finding it difficult to reassimilate back into civilian society. Neither example is proof of PTSD. There are many reasons why people, veterans and non-veterans, drink, just as there are many reasons why some veterans dislike civilian society. Still, it seems reasonable that some of these examples might be caused by PTSD or similar conditions.
 

aggienation

Ad Honorem
Jul 2016
9,813
USA
One can occasionally find references to veterans passing their days in drunkeness, which could be a form of self-medication. One can also find references to veterans finding it difficult to reassimilate back into civilian society. Neither example is proof of PTSD. There are many reasons why people, veterans and non-veterans, drink, just as there are many reasons why some veterans dislike civilian society. Still, it seems reasonable that some of these examples might be caused by PTSD or similar conditions.
One of the most common use of alcohol with PTSD is the assumption that drunken slumber is dream free. To escape nightmares they'll drink. Unfortunately, one can still dream when intoxicated (though less chance of it), but worse, as blood alcohol drops in the night it can lead to sudden and intense dreaming cycles during REM, meaning potentially very vivid nightmares, which can lead to a cyclical problem where the individual drinks more frequently and more volume to escape those dreams.
 
Oct 2015
955
Norway
I remember reading about a veteran of the Norwegian civilian war in the tenth century. He became prone to suddenly and violent rage and killed a man pretty much without provocation. Historians have speculated it was PTSD.