As you may know I was diagnosed with PTSD in April, 2002 caused by combat
trauma in Vietnam. There are indeed many forms of PTSD and this illness
affects no two individuals the same. PTSD was not classified as a clinical
illness until the mid 1980s.
Shay's extraordinary book _Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the
Undoing of Character_ was immediately recommended to me by my psychologist
and psychiatrist after my diagnosis. It is my understanding that the latest
research indicates that PTSD is actually a biological change in the body due
to extended periods of time when one's life is in danger.
>From: Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]>
>Reply-To: "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
>To: [log in to unmask]
>Subject: Re: Some Queries, was Re: Deluge...
>Date: Sat, 28 Sep 2002 12:40:49 -0500
>Nancy Gish wrote:
> > It was not in the dark ages at all. French psychologists had for the
> > century studied what they called "hysteria."
>This could get complicated and lead us far afield -- but (among a number
>of other things) it is precisely "hysteria" as a psychiatric diagnosis
>that leads me to characterize 1920 as "still in the dark ages." Even the
>psychiatric categories in current use are (probably) only temporary
>place-holders for various (usually vaguely defined) "bunches of
>symptoms" that as yet are not really understood. "Depression," for
>example, may be no more specific a diagnosis than "cancer." This is
>certainly true of PTSD, which can be seen as sort of an arrow pointing
>in the direction of research needing to be done.
>Migraine was described and named by the ancient Greeks, but it was only
>in the last 5 years or so that they discovered a major feature of it. It
>had been assumed that it was a vascular headache. It is that; but it
>also involves the release of a painful chemical by the nerves. That is
>one of the reason painkillers taken after the onset of migraine are
>Incidentally, an extraordinarily fascinating book, written by a
>classical scholar who is also a practicing psychiatrist (or a practicing
>psychiatrist who is also a classical scholar) is Jonathan Shay,
>_Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character_ (New
>York: Atheneum, 1994). Shay runs a clinic for Vietnam veterans. He
>describes Achilles as exhibiting the symptoms of one form of PTSD.
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