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cmhbob
05-30-2015, 02:52 AM
This was a long but very interesting article at Vanity Fair. It focuses mainly on military cases of PTSD, not others, but it gives a really good treatment. It looks at it across cultural and societal boundaries. For example, why are more support troops than combat troops afflicted? Why is the rate higher for US troops than Israeli troops, who have been at war most of their lives?

It also differentiates between acute and chronic PTSD.

There's so much good stuff in this (to me) that I'd end up quoting the entire article. But this paragraph near the end really resonated.


America is a largely de-ritualized society that obviously can’t just borrow from another society to heal its psychic wounds. But the spirit of community healing and empowerment that forms the basis of these ceremonies is certainly one that might be converted to a secular modern society. The shocking disconnect for veterans isn’t so much that civilians don’t know what they went through—it’s unrealistic to expect anyone to fully understand another person’s experience—but that what they went through doesn’t seem relevant back home. Given the profound alienation that afflicts modern society, when combat vets say that they want to go back to war, they may be having an entirely healthy response to the perceived emptiness of modern life.

http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2015/05/ptsd-war-home-sebastian-junger

Roxxsmom
05-30-2015, 03:50 AM
Looks like an interesting article. Thanks for linking it. Bookmarking it to read later.

Kylabelle
05-30-2015, 04:28 AM
Illuminating article, yes, thanks for posting the link. I learned some things about PTSD -- mainly that the disorder part has to do with the culture in which people try to recover from trauma, more than it does with the reaction to trauma itself, the post-traumatic stress itself.

Interesting!

I wonder how writing this affected the author's own PTSD?

cmhbob
05-30-2015, 04:51 AM
I wonder how writing this affected the author's own PTSD?Great question. I tweeted it to Junger. If he adds anything, I'll post it.

Dreity
05-30-2015, 05:19 AM
This was really interesting. Thanks for sharing. I found the parts about reintegration and how culture impacts a person's ability to achieve it especially eye-opening.

Although I did find myself giggling at this line:


And according to statistics published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology in 2000, if you have an educational deficit, if you are female, if you have a low I.Q., or if you were abused as a child, you are at an elevated risk of developing PTSD.

One of these things is not like the other! Granted, Menander did say: "Woman is a pain that never goes away." :tongue

Layla Nahar
05-30-2015, 05:24 AM
Another thing concerning PTSD - did you ever hear George Carlin's piece on this? He talks about how with each war the name for what soldiers went through had it's teeth taken out so to speak - WWI - 'shell shock' - very direct, no mistaking that. WWII 'battle fatigue' (I forget what it got called for the Korean war...) down to PTSd - which is completely removed from the experience of war. The word we use now to describe the problem separates those who experience it via war from war, and by doing so isolates those who stay here from having to cope with the fact that a war is going on.

Hope that made sense.

Roxxsmom
05-30-2015, 05:44 AM
Although I did find myself giggling at this line:



One of these things is not like the other! Granted, Menander did say: "Woman is a pain that never goes away." :tongue

No kidding. I just ran into an article (http://www.horsemanpro.com/correspondence/posting-trot.htm) about riding (horses) where the author asserted that people don't ride the same way they used to because riding instruction is female dominated these days, and women are physically handicapped and therefore can't sit as deep in the saddle as men (and are ruining the way men ride as a consequence). I think he was referencing this article (http://www.equinestudies.org/whos_built_best_2008/whos_built_best_2008_pdf1.pdf), which merely talks about average differences between male and female anatomy and how instructors should consider the anatomy of a student when teaching a deep seat. Nowhere does it refer to women as physically handicapped or imply that they can't ride as well as men... :Soapbox:

Sorry, a bit of a deflection from the OT, but I was still angry from what is just the latest example I've run into of female physiology and anatomy being pathologized because of course, the male state is considered to be the unmarked norm. And indeed, putting the state of being female in a list of things that are considered to be disabilities doesn't come off well. Though I have read that women are more prone to PTSD.

If a lot of PTSD really is about how our current society reintegrates veterans, could this mean that women are not being reintegrated as well as men overall? Would the relative scarcity of female veterans mean they have even less of a support group than male ones do?

I wonder if the greater incidence of PTSD in veterans who served in non-combat roles is a consequence of the way modern warfare has brought combat to zones that were once considered "safe," and the fact that personnel in non combat positions may feel more helpless and out of control (like sitting ducks, essentially) than personnel who are actively moving around in a combat zone, making choices that (at least in their perception) influence their chances of survival.

I do wonder how service-related PTSD and the kind people who get it from things like rape, robberies, car accidents and natural disasters compare also. Is there a gender difference in PTSD among, say, earthquake survivors or people who have lived through plane crashes? If so, it's possible that hormones or brain structure (if women, for instance, really do have more connections between brain regions, on average, than men) could play a role too.

C.bronco
05-30-2015, 05:57 AM
I'd like to see and article on PTSD from abusive households. I think that would be illuminating.

AW Admin
05-30-2015, 06:08 AM
There was an interesting paper published this January about PTSD and ancient soldiers/warriors.

This article references and summarizes the paper (http://www.newhistorian.com/ptsd-found-ancient-warriors/2835/), which was online and legally downloadable but seems to have disappeared.

Roxxsmom
05-30-2015, 06:41 AM
I'd like to see and article on PTSD from abusive households. I think that would be illuminating.

This, because I'm thinking PTSD that stems from living in perpetual fear or chronic threat of violence over a long period of time might be very different from the PTSD that comes from a single traumatic and life-threatening event.

I think it is interesting that, while the Vanity Fair article and the other one about ancient PTSD, may differ over whether it's more of a modern issue or one that is very ancient, both seem to agree that one of the most traumatic things for a soldier is witnessing harm to another person, or killing another person themselves.

Dreity
05-30-2015, 06:53 AM
No kidding. I just ran into an article (http://www.horsemanpro.com/correspondence/posting-trot.htm) about riding (horses) where the author asserted that people don't ride the same way they used to because riding instruction is female dominated these days, and women are physically handicapped and therefore can't sit as deep in the saddle as men (and are ruining the way men ride as a consequence). I think he was referencing this article (http://www.equinestudies.org/whos_built_best_2008/whos_built_best_2008_pdf1.pdf), which merely talks about average differences between male and female anatomy and how instructors should consider the anatomy of a student when teaching a deep seat. Nowhere does it refer to women as physically handicapped or imply that they can't ride as well as men... :Soapbox:

Sorry, a bit of a deflection from the OT, but I was still angry from what is just the latest example I've run into of female physiology and anatomy being pathologized because of course, the male state is considered to be the unmarked norm. And indeed, putting the state of being female in a list of things that are considered to be disabilities doesn't come off well. Though I have read that women are more prone to PTSD.

I've read the same thing, and it's not a tidbit I would dismiss out of hand. I hope further research can help illuminate how much of it is inherent to being a woman and how much is social conditioning. Truthfully, I don't think the author meant to imply that being biologically female was in the same category as being disabled. I DO think an editor should have caught the Unfortunate Implication and suggested a minor rewrite.


If a lot of PTSD really is about how our current society reintegrates veterans, could this mean that women are not being reintegrated as well as men overall? Would the relative scarcity of female veterans mean they have even less of a support group than male ones do?

I wonder if the greater incidence of PTSD in veterans who served in non-combat roles is a consequence of the way modern warfare has brought combat to zones that were once considered "safe," and the fact that personnel in non combat positions may feel more helpless and out of control (like sitting ducks, essentially) than personnel who are actively moving around in a combat zone, making choices that (at least in their perception) influence their chances of survival.

I'll admit I was initially surprised to read that rear/support groups experienced PTSD just as intensely as front-liners, but thinking about it, it makes a lot of sense. Training and experience obviously makes a difference, and yet even without those factors, I can see why being able to make snap judgments with readily apparent consequences, such as deciding between run, shoot, take cover, etc, would make a person better able to cope than someone with more abstract decisions to make, both in that moment and in retrospect.

I think it's why the white American suburbanite is so vulnerable to depression over so many other demographics. At the end of the day, a soldier can say "I kept my buddies safe and lived to tell about it." OTOH, I, your average retail worker, am continually wrestling with, "Does what I did today matter to ANYONE, including me?"

Not to say that I think we should return to a state of constant tribal warfare. It's just that I don't think humans were meant to live lives of so little consequence to the people around them. We're not all special snowflakes, but...we are, kind of. We're all human and I believe we have a moral obligation to give a shit about other humans and humanity at large, and to try to make something meaningful of our lives. It is neither good nor right to live in self-absorbed bubbles, impacting the world more with what we've consumed rather than what we've contributed, but it's a state of being that's incredibly hard to claw your way out of. Speaking personally, that struggle is a huge factor in my depression.

It's not hard at all for me to understand why soldiers often feel so alienated when they come home to something that feels so meaningless in contrast.


I do wonder how service-related PTSD and the kind people who get it from things like rape, robberies, car accidents and natural disasters compare also. Is there a gender difference in PTSD among, say, earthquake survivors or people who have lived through plane crashes? If so, it's possible that hormones or brain structure (if women, for instance, really do have more connections between brain regions, on average, than men) could play a role too.

I would be very interested in seeing that kind of breakdown.

Roxxsmom
05-30-2015, 07:24 AM
This article discusses a study comparing combat PTSD with PTSD from civilian trauma, though it's pretty perfunctory.

http://www.counseling.org/docs/default-source/vistas/comparison-of-civilian-trauma-and-combat-trauma.pdf?sfvrsn=8

This is a doctoral dissertation from a student who studied the issue in more detail.

http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/handle/2027.42/91481/mrpresco_1.pdf?sequence=1

Kylabelle
05-30-2015, 01:15 PM
Another thing concerning PTSD - did you ever hear George Carlin's piece on this? He talks about how with each war the name for what soldiers went through had it's teeth taken out so to speak - WWI - 'shell shock' - very direct, no mistaking that. WWII 'battle fatigue' (I forget what it got called for the Korean war...) down to PTSd - which is completely removed from the experience of war. The word we use now to describe the problem separates those who experience it via war from war, and by doing so isolates those who stay here from having to cope with the fact that a war is going on.

Hope that made sense.

Which in an oblique manner illustrates what I took to be the central point of the article, namely, that cultural engagement with profound experience has been so attenuated that it is making us ill. And the language chosen to name the shock humans normally experience from certain kinds of intensity reflects that distancing and alienation.

George Carlin nailed a lot of things that way, didn't he?

Hapax Legomenon
05-30-2015, 06:21 PM
I would really not be surprised if the role women are expected to take does not make women much, much more prone to PTSD. IME, women are "supposed to" be the mentally strong and supportive ones and such a role would give people even less of the support/integration/understanding than men usually get.

Snowstorm
05-30-2015, 06:42 PM
[QUOTE=Dreity;9437847One of these things is not like the other! Granted, Menander did say: "Woman is a pain that never goes away." :tongue[/QUOTE]

I wonder if one contributing factor is because a woman's service is likely to be disregarded, further causing a feeling of isolation for the women. (This is my opinion based only on what I've experienced: I see it often when Hubby and I are asked what we did before we opened our business. When we say we have a combined 52 years of military service--him 28 years and me 24--about 90% of the time they turn to Hubby and ask what he did in the service.)

I'm also wondering if the "we're all in this together" philosophy helps a great deal to prevent PTSD, such as in the case of Israeli veterans. The country has a mandatory service and the country is often in conflicts. I would suspect living in a region where many people who've been through similar circumstances very helpful.

Fantastic article! Thank you for posting it. I saved it as a favorite.

Jamesaritchie
05-30-2015, 11:15 PM
PTSD is a real and terrible thing, but it's also a highly convenient excuse for doing anything, and is the most faked condition in warfare. It's also the most common defense at a trial when an ex-soldier gets arrested.

Roxxsmom
05-31-2015, 12:12 AM
I think women are more prone to PTSD for non-combat related trauma too. There are plenty of possible reasons for this, both sociological and biological, and I hope someone is studying it.

I linked a doctoral dissertation that compares and contrasts the syndrome as it occurs from non-combat trauma and war related. It's long, so I admit I just skimmed, but there are indeed some differences, but there are many similarities. It didn't address the gender differences, however.

The vanity Fair article was interesting, but I think the author is missing something if they think PTSD is a modern phenomenon, or necessarily more prevalent in recent wars than it is historically. We're probably better at diagnosing and defining it than we once were, and we're more inclined to collect data as well. But there's no questioning that modern wars (and modern societies) are different in some ways, and it would be surprising if that didn't affect the presentation of the condition.

Underdawg47
05-31-2015, 08:19 AM
After reading that article, it made perfect sense to me. We were meant to be tribal creatures living in close knit groups between 30-50 members. We were meant to sleep within arms reach of five to ten other members. We were meant to have certain rituals that the group performs together. This part of us is wired into our genes because this is how we lived for thousands and thousands of years. The military is efficient in that it taps into those primitive instincts of our hunter gather ancestors to form a tribe. You felt safe in the tribe, being able to go off on an adventure together and being able to retell those extreme moments among the tribe whether they be good or bad was what bonded the tribe together. The retelling of stories that each of you were a part of as you sat around a camp fire became your place of worship. The rituals of running and singing cadence was truly a bonding experience in which you feel like part of a pack, you feel needed, wanted and even loved as if they were your biological family, and you develop a sense of self worth as part of the tribe.

When a person becomes a soldier, he or she gets a taste of how humans were meant to live happy and fulfilling lives by experiencing what it is like to be part of a tribe. But when coming back to live "normal society" they experience isolation, depression, anxiety, because they felt the loss of communal togetherness, the sharing of stories, the feeling of being a part of a tribe was broken and they grieved the loss of a part of themselves. Coming home to a society where next door neighbors are complete strangers and everyone you know is busy with some other important project. You feel the loss of the tribe mentality where you each feel involved with the common good of the whole.

I remember feeling a great loss after leaving the military, not because I missed the military, but I missed the close friendships and the feeling of being a part a tribe. As someone who has no faith in organized religions, feeling as part of a tribe came as close to me as feeling holy or sacred than almost anything that I have ever encountered.

I think we all suffer from this social disease in some form or the other. I always wonder why depression is so damned common. Now it seems obvious to me that my depression is probably caused by a lack of being a part of a community. The ritual acts performed as a group that binds the tribe by sharing a common experience. I think religion was created to simulate the hunter gatherer feeling of unity that one might experience from being a part of a tribe. It really didn't matter what you chose to believe as you sat around the campfire telling and retelling stories of past deeds, what matters is that everyone in the tribe knows the same stories by heart because they have heard it told countless times. It is sacred because it is what binds the tribe together.

Old Hack
05-31-2015, 12:01 PM
Another thing concerning PTSD - did you ever hear George Carlin's piece on this? He talks about how with each war the name for what soldiers went through had it's teeth taken out so to speak - WWI - 'shell shock' - very direct, no mistaking that. WWII 'battle fatigue' (I forget what it got called for the Korean war...) down to PTSd - which is completely removed from the experience of war. The word we use now to describe the problem separates those who experience it via war from war, and by doing so isolates those who stay here from having to cope with the fact that a war is going on.

Hope that made sense.

That's so interesting, and such an important point--when you're talking about the PTSD which results from combat. But it's understood now that combat is just one of the things which can trigger PTSD, and it's not appropriate to call it "shell shock" when the condition has been caused by abuse, for example, or some other non-combat-related trauma.


I'd like to see and article on PTSD from abusive households. I think that would be illuminating.

There's quite a lot online about this. I've not looked it up lately, but I think that the long-term trauma of growing up in an abusive household leads to complex PTSD, often abbreviated to c-PTSD or cPTSD, rather than just (just!) PTSD.

CWatts
06-01-2015, 03:01 AM
This, because I'm thinking PTSD that stems from living in perpetual fear or chronic threat of violence over a long period of time might be very different from the PTSD that comes from a single traumatic and life-threatening event.

I think it is interesting that, while the Vanity Fair article and the other one about ancient PTSD, may differ over whether it's more of a modern issue or one that is very ancient, both seem to agree that one of the most traumatic things for a soldier is witnessing harm to another person, or killing another person themselves.

It's fascinating, esp. the role of isolation versus common experience. I'm researching PTSD in the 19th century for my WIP. The Israeli & London Blitz examples could be applicable for the American Civil War, but you've also got the divisiveness of the conflict itself plus the racial divide. The idea of people missing the war for the moment of excitement makes sense when I've got characters either committing or solving crimes.

Bolero
06-01-2015, 01:12 PM
A couple of years back I read "Doctor for Friend and Foe" by Rick Jolly. He was the senior medical officer on the Falkland Islands during the Falklands War. Very interesting book. Right at the end he briefly compared the PTSD experiences of the Paratroop regiment and the Royal Marines. (Think I am remembering this correctly). The Paras were flown back to the UK after the war ended; the Royal Marines sailed back on the Canberra which took weeks in which they were all talking about the war and winding down. The Paras had more cases of PTSD than the marines.

Regarding excitement of war - if you read some of the immediately post WW2 authors such as Nevil Shute, you find several plots built around people having their lives plummet after the war.

Also watching "Who Do You Think You Are" the episode with Patrick Stewart (the actor) learning about his father's war record. After the war his father was a postman and was difficult to live with. During the war his father was a sergeant major in the paratroop regiment.

On society and isolation in general - I do think online groups like this should help - as in my life is better with this group. I do have neighbours I talk with, friends I phone and email, but I know only two writers in person. It isn't possible to talk about writing with anyone else except on here. Now, if you don't have a particular interest, hobby, whatever to be on a group, then that is far harder.

Makai_Lightning
06-11-2015, 05:41 AM
This, because I'm thinking PTSD that stems from living in perpetual fear or chronic threat of violence over a long period of time might be very different from the PTSD that comes from a single traumatic and life-threatening event.
My mother had suffered from PTSD at one point in time. She never specified why, exactly, but from what I do know of some of her life, that's absolutely true. And I can tell you I suffer(ed) PTSD, and the problem was chronic, and came about because of perpetual fear or chronic threat of violence.

All I'm gonna say about that is, reading in the article that rape victims tend to be easier to treat for PTSD than veterans, because they have an easier time categorizing the whole experience as a bad thing that needs to be dealt with versus the veterans who experience plenty of positive and growth experiences while at war, as well. I absolutely understand that sentiment; I think that's why both me and my mom had the issues we did. Not JUST because Something Bad happened, but because amongst the bad we keep searching for good. I think anyone who has an abusive family member kind of understands--I've certainly met enough people with experiences worse than mine who this applies to.

Tell so much of both how to help treat PTSD, but also how to help prevent it.

Ambrosia
06-11-2015, 10:26 PM
PTSD is a real and terrible thing, but it's also a highly convenient excuse for doing anything, and is the most faked condition in warfare. It's also the most common defense at a trial when an ex-soldier gets arrested.

I'm a veteran and I mention that not because I was ever deployed, I wasn't, but because I have seen the changes in how the Veteran's Administration is handling veterans who are suffering from PTSD now than they have in the past. I doubt it is "the most faked condition in warfare" or a "highly convenient excuse for doing anything" and that kind of dismissive thought process leads to people not seeking help due to shame. The US had to address the PTSD situation and provide greater mental health support because of the epidemic of suicides happening from active duty soldiers returning from war zones as well as those discharged from active duty. Now you walk into a VA facility and there are posters in the halls, in waiting rooms, treatment rooms, everywhere telling Veterans to call for help if they are feeling depressed or suicidal.

Considering the number of soldiers that have died by suicide or who have attempted suicide in recent years, I applaud the efforts of the military and VA to encourage people who are suffering to reach out for help. PTSD affects lives, even if the person doesn't attempt suicide. Not just their lives, but the lives of their loved ones. A person suffering from it needs help to heal. I'm glad it is finally gaining so much attention.

dda27101
06-12-2015, 12:15 AM
Comparing today’s PTSD to battle fatigue throughout history is unfair. First, war was shorter, and don’t tell me about the 100 years war, and the number of troops was insignificant by modern standards. All the way up to the Korean conflict, wounded were left on the field for dead. Civil War and WWI combat dead numbers are actually smaller than the numbers who died from wounds after treated. WWII and after, we have major advances in the medical field (including antibiotics) and much more were saved. A soldier can accept that he might die. He can see the dead on the field and be only marginally affected…but seeing his fellow soldiers disabled by horrific wounds is another thing. He doesn’t want to end up like that. These days, not only the troops, but civilians at home are faced with truth of what war can do. Long time ago, someone died in battle, the family was told he died. Civil war reports gave numbers but the public was blissfully unaware of how they died. WWI and WWII, newspapers did gave a more detailed picture of what went on, but only at the time of the Vietnam War were the homes bombarded by the true aspects of what war looked like. Today, barely a day goes by without TV putting it out there for everybody’s eyes. The effects on undermining morale of both fighting men and their families is insignificant to the ratings war.
Cesar, Richard I, Napoleon, led their men in the field. Thereafter, leaders remained behind, at a safe distance, and only ordered carnage without witnessing it. Today’s soldier, knowing he’s expendable while his leaders (and their families) are not, becomes more emotionally vulnerable and as such prime candidates for PTSD.
Case in point. The ISIS attacks on Mosul, Ramadi (and elsewhere) were brilliantly design to break the Iraqi’s morale. After witnessing carbombing, executions, crucifixions, the Iraqi have stopped being an effective fighting force. They all suffer from PTSD.

TheNighSwan
06-12-2015, 04:13 PM
Your argument sounds a bit confused.

PTSD is a disease that affects both civilians and soldiers. The reason we observe a lot more PTSD today is because the diagnosis was only established in the 80s, and from there it still took more time for the disease to be widely recognized.

The rate of PTSD occurence is roughly the same in most countries, both for developped countries that are mostly at peace, and for developping countries that are seeing prolongued periods of violent conflict, thus indicating that conflict in itself and the form it takes is not really a key factor in the prevalence of the disease.

While modern conflicts involve a lot more people in absolute numbers and often take place over larger areas, in percentage of the population concerned modern conflict are actually less important, and generally affect civilians much less (in the premodern era,rape, plunder and pillage of defeated cities was pretty much systematic). Even though WWI killed more people in absolute numbers than any other war, once converted in percentage of the total concerned population, western wars of the 20th century were the least deadly known to humanity. Western wars in the 20th century account for about 2 or 3% of all male deaths in that period. Jivaro war, by comparison, account for as much as 60% of all male deaths among Jivaros (Keeley, Lawrence (1996)).

It is also not true that past wars were always shorter.

The Dutch War of Independence lasted eighty years. The Dutch-Portuguese war lasted sixty one years. The Thirty Years' War, although technically a series of wars, saw pretty much constant conflict in Germany for the whole period, with Germany losing as much as 40% of its population (some regions lost as much as two-third or three-quarters of their population — this is a scale of devastation more on par with a plague pandemic than with a modern war). The second Anglo-Spanish War lasted six years. The Franco-Dutch War lasted six years. The War of the Grand Alliance lasted nine years. The War of the Spanish Succession lasted thirteen years. The War of the Austrian Succession lasted eight years.

That's just a small, far-from-exhaustive sample from the 1600-1800 period.

Bolero
06-12-2015, 04:22 PM
Interesting point dda (cross-posted with nighswan btw) - but I am not convinced about the argument that the public were unaware of disabling and disfiguring wounds before TV. Some disabled veterans became beggars - and would be there in their old uniform, showing their wounds, telling people about their service and which battles they'd fought in. People knew. Maybe not as many as with TV, hard to count, but it was there.

See popular songs like
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_I_Hardly_Knew_Ye

Not about injuries as such, but Kipling wrote "The Last of the Light Brigade" to bring the plight of veterans to the public's attention.
http://www.kiplingsociety.co.uk/poems_brigade.htm

autumnleaf
06-12-2015, 05:47 PM
It's always going to be difficult to compare PTSD today and in the past, and not just because that diagnosis is a recent one. Experiences that we see as abnormal and traumatic were taken for granted in past eras. For example, before the 20th century, most children would have seen siblings or friends die, and they would have understood their own lives as precarious from an early age. But possibly because these experiences were more common, they would have felt less isolated in their experiences.

Were Germans in a state of shock at the end of the Thirty Years War? It's hard to imagine that they weren't affected by all that bloodshed and rape, especially since many of them would have lived their whole lives in war's shadow. Did any of them suffer from what we would recognize as PTSD? I would imagine so, but that's speculation on my part.

Ambrosia
06-12-2015, 06:16 PM
It does not mean the condition has changed just because the name has changed.

Bolero
06-12-2015, 10:20 PM
Ambrosia - I really don't think that Autumnleaf is saying the condition has changed because the name has changed. AL is theorising that bad experiences used to be sadly far more common in every day life, the kind of bad experiences that these days are mostly experienced in the western world through war. So if isolation from mainstream experience is one factor in PTSD, then historically there would not be the isolation - because the bad experiences were more common and not limited to war zones. That's the theory.

dda27101
06-12-2015, 10:23 PM
NighSwan, the wars you use as example were fought over a number of years…but how many major battles? Most were skirmishes, engagements with hundreds of troops, a few thousands at most. There were long periods without any fighting. It does not compare with WW I or WW II…when you have continuous fighting going on (if not on one front, on the others). In terms of civilians… LOL In the wars you used to make your point a city will be sacked, hundreds, maybe thousands slaughtered. That’s nothing when compared to civilian loses at Leningrad, Stalingrad, the carpet bombing of Germany, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, the dead and displaced in Korea, Vietnam…now in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan.
In the old days you might hear about a battle, months after. Now, you see live what’s going on. Big difference.

Roxxsmom
06-12-2015, 10:39 PM
My mother had suffered from PTSD at one point in time. She never specified why, exactly, but from what I do know of some of her life, that's absolutely true. And I can tell you I suffer(ed) PTSD, and the problem was chronic, and came about because of perpetual fear or chronic threat of violence.

All I'm gonna say about that is, reading in the article that rape victims tend to be easier to treat for PTSD than veterans, because they have an easier time categorizing the whole experience as a bad thing that needs to be dealt with versus the veterans who experience plenty of positive and growth experiences while at war, as well. I absolutely understand that sentiment; I think that's why both me and my mom had the issues we did. Not JUST because Something Bad happened, but because amongst the bad we keep searching for good. I think anyone who has an abusive family member kind of understands--I've certainly met enough people with experiences worse than mine who this applies to.

Tell so much of both how to help treat PTSD, but also how to help prevent it.

I wonder about the PTSD that stems from child abuse, however? Most kids, even abused kids, love their parents, and even abusive parents can be loving in some contexts. And abuse is often sporadic or unpredictable in families. So I can see that the confusion of the good and bad elements of a very significant relationship leading to similar kinds of difficulties. Say your mom used to beat you and/or psychologically abuse you when she was drunk, or suffering from her own psychological issues, but she could also be clever, funny, loving etc. when she was in the right mood. I see this issue with a couple of my family members, actually (alcoholic mom was more psychologically abusive than physically in their cases, but that only made it more confusing, I think).

I've run across some folks who have developed some very sad defense mechanisms that allow them to compartmentalize the abuse they received from parents they loved (and who loved them too), including the self blame, such as "I was a rotten kid, so of course may dad had to thrash me with the belt," or even, "My parents beat me for my own good, and if they hadn't, I would have joined a gang or gotten into drugs, or gotten pregnant, or turned away from God..." or the ever present, "Kids these days are so horrible because their parents don't beat them," and that horrible, "Share this if you were spanked with a belt and came out okay," facebook meme.

TheNighSwan
06-13-2015, 04:40 AM
NighSwan, the wars you use as example were fought over a number of years…but how many major battles? Most were skirmishes, engagements with hundreds of troops, a few thousands at most. There were long periods without any fighting. It does not compare with WW I or WW II…when you have continuous fighting going on (if not on one front, on the others). In terms of civilians… LOL In the wars you used to make your point a city will be sacked, hundreds, maybe thousands slaughtered. That’s nothing when compared to civilian loses at Leningrad, Stalingrad, the carpet bombing of Germany, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, the dead and displaced in Korea, Vietnam…now in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan.
In the old days you might hear about a battle, months after. Now, you see live what’s going on. Big difference.

I'm sorry but I think you are mistaken.

The Dutch War of Indepence was not "a few skirmiches involving at most a few thousand people", it was a really long and costly war that brought the Spanish kingdom to bankrucy, several times during the war.

The Thirty Years' War involved hundreds of thousands of troups from about twenty countries, and again, the death toll included as much as 40% of all Germans. Not just German soldiers, all Germans. Korea, Vietnam or even the atrocities of World War II do not even come close to such a proportion: the most devastated country of world war II, Poland, lost about 17% of its pre-war population. The Korean war killed about 9% of Korea's population. The Vietnam war killed no more than 7% of Vietnam's population (and that figure is probably too high). As for Syria today, even the highest estimates don't indicate a death toll over 1.3% of the population (even in absolute numbers, the Spanish Civil War killed more people than the Syrian Civil War... while lasting less than 3 years, whereas the Syrian Civil War is already its 4th year).

Likewise, the War of the Spanish succession involved hundreds of thousands of soldiers, implicated almost every major European power, and was fought both in Europe and in the Americas. It wasn't a "small war": France was effectively seeking to gain the Spanish throne, and thus get control of the entire Spanish empire, which at the time included not only the Latin American colonies, but also large swaths of what is now the US, the Philipines, and large parts of Italy and of the Netherlands. This was the first world war of the 18th century, except the stakes were actually much higher.


As for World War II, there were in fact periods without fighting: there was no fighting at all between september 39 and may 40 (8 months). The fighting then lasted less than two months and mostly ended in june 40. Then, appart from sporadic and largely ineffective air raids, there was again no fighting between june 40 and june 41 (a whole year).


I insist on using percentages because raw number don't mean much without context. Because otherwise the highest estimate for the death toll of the Taiping Rebellion in the mid 19th century is about 100 millions, higher than even the highest estimates for World War II. Except at the time China already had a population of 430 millions, so about 23%, which is quite high, but among what you expect for pre-20th century warfare; and again this is the the highest estimate, the lower (and most reasonable) estimate is 20 millions, ten times less... and still dwarfing the Korean war by one order of magnitude (but actually inferior to it if you consider the percentages).

Roxxsmom
06-13-2015, 09:36 AM
It's always going to be difficult to compare PTSD today and in the past, and not just because that diagnosis is a recent one. Experiences that we see as abnormal and traumatic were taken for granted in past eras. For example, before the 20th century, most children would have seen siblings or friends die, and they would have understood their own lives as precarious from an early age. But possibly because these experiences were more common, they would have felt less isolated in their experiences.

That doesn't mean they weren't traumatized or that some of them didn't have symptoms that overlapped with what is called PTSD today. The percentages (and coping mechanisms) might have been different in a pre-industrial country, But that doesn't mean cases were absent. Indeed, there is evidence that people suffered from things that sound awfully like what we call PTSD today, even in antiquity (I linked some articles about this up thread). We mostly hear about it re soldiers, but that may be because the daily lives of the illiterate masses were far less likely to be recorded (by them or anyone else).

I think there's a very great desire on the part of many to assume that people were qualitatively different in the past, that the emotions we experience are different, but while culture can certainly change many things, I think the conditions encompassed by the modern diagnosis of PTSD is a physiological response that probably transcends time, place, and culture, though individual circumstances can certainly affect how it presents and its long-term prognosis.

Animals (http://www.npr.org/2013/03/11/173812785/four-legged-warriors-show-signs-of-ptsd)even appear to suffer (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-karen-becker/dogs-ptsd_b_3943083.html) from something similar (http://www.equine-behavior.com/PTSD_and_the_Horse1.htm).

autumnleaf
06-13-2015, 03:42 PM
The percentages (and coping mechanisms) might have been different in a pre-industrial country, But that doesn't mean cases were absent.

Which is pretty much what I was trying to say, although obviously not as clearly as I'd planned. Historical people who underwent traumatic experiences probably did have something we'd recognize as PTSD, but the way they coped with it would be different.


I think there's a very great desire on the part of many to assume that people were qualitatively different in the past, that the emotions we experience are different, but while culture can certainly change many things, I think the conditions encompassed by the modern diagnosis of PTSD is a physiological response that probably transcends time, place, and culture, though individual circumstances can certainly affect how it presents and its long-term prognosis.

Oh, I assume that human nature hasn't changed much over recent millenia and we experience the same emotional states as our ancestors did. But culture affects how we process those emotions.

The original article mentioned that isolation was a big factor in long-term PTSD. So if others around you share and understand your experience, that can alleviate it to a certain extent. If everyone you know has lost someone to war, it's a tragic situation all around but at least you can help each other through it. If you've gone through something that's less "normal" for your society, then your sense of isolation will increase and prolong your trauma.