Tuesday, September 04, 2012

World War One Wednesday

llustration for a Detroit Vapor Stove advertisement in the May 3, 1919 issue of Country Gentleman magazine. That was a year that thousands of soldiers came home from World War One.
Railway Spine
Stress Syndrome
Shell Shock
Battle Fatigue
Traumatic War Neurosis 
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

After experiencing the horrors of war, many US Soldiers brought back with them the symptoms of PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or as it was known in World War One, Shell Shock. These symptoms included hyper-vigilance, extreme fatigue, disassociation with family members and life in general, depression, sleep disturbances, numbness, avoidance, unbidden recall of traumatic events, irritability, anger, aggression, exaggerated startle response, and so much more.

For many of these soldiers of World War One, there was little or no treatment available. People assumed that if the soldier just went home and rested up, spent time with family, ate decently, and went to work, it would all pass over. And for many it did. But for some, PTSD lingered. These men found it difficult, if not impossible to assimilate back into their normal lives. They had seen too much, done too much, been too traumatized to ever forget.

Sadly, many of these American soldiers sought comfort in alcohol and drugs, their marriages and families fell apart, relationships imploded or withered away, and many took their own lives.

PTSD was a very real problem. It was in World War One and it is now. So many of our soldiers are returning from combat in need of help. As people become more aware of the disorder, more efforts are being made to help our soldiers. New treatments for PTSD are being developed all the time, and our veterans are being encouraged to seek help. And not just the soldiers. Help is available for family and spouses of returning vets and their children as well. 

If you want to help, check out http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/ They accept donations and volunteer hours, and their specific goal is to help veterans adjust to life after combat.


  1. PTSD is such a sad outcome for all of our military personnel, past and present. My husband's grandfather was a medic in WWII and suffered greatly when he returned home. The stories we've heard are heart-wrenching.

    I bet all your research is fascinating!! :)

  2. I've seen some of this from friends and family. It's heartbreaking. Thanks for posting and helping people become aware/more aware!

  3. I've heard about Wounded Warrior Project. It sounds like a great organization.