Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Concussion and PTSD in the Ancient World

By Mary Harrsch.

English: Tropeum Traiani Metope XLVIII Germani...
Tropeum Traiani Metope Germanic POW 
After I suggested in my review of "Semper Fidelis that the antagonist in Ruth Downie's novel, a brutal Centurion named Geminus, may have been suffering from PTSD, Ruth sent me a link to a very thoughtful post by Dr. Dorothy King entitled "PTSD in Antiquity"

In my review, I cited a post by Dr. Jonathan Eaton who had basically dismissed the possibility that ancient soldiers did not suffer from PTSD because modern research points to PTSD being most prevalent in soldiers experiencing explosive events (like IEDs, land mines or booby traps). He theorizes that since gunpowder or other explosive material was generally not used in ancient warfare, such explosive events did not occur so the probability that PTSD could develop was quite low. He also pointed to the death-filled environment of the ancient world as something that he felt would desensitize ancient peoples to the trauma of warfare.

Dr. King disagrees pointing to the fact that she, a diagnosed victim of PTSD, had never experienced an explosive event and she knew of a military general diagnosed with PTSD that had never been near explosive devices either. She was particularly impressed with the research of Jonathan Shay summarized in his book " Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character .

Original Article: http://ancientimes.blogspot.com/2013/01/concussion-and-ptsd-in-ancient-world.html

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