Below is a timeline of the history of PTSD. Click on the arrows following each item to go to the part of this website that discusses each event.

  • 1678: Swiss Physicians identify ‘Nostalgia’
  • 1700s: Dominique Jean Larrey describes the disorder as having three stages
  • 1855: Government Hospital for the Insane is established
  • 1861-1865: U.S. military physicians document the stresses of Civil War soldiers
  • 1871: Jacob Mendez Da Costa publishes a study about ‘irritable heart’
  • 1905: ‘Battle shock’ is regarded as a legitimate medical condition by the Russian Army
  • 1917-1919: Distress of soldiers is attributed to ‘shell shock’ during WWI
  • 1918: Smith and Pear advocate for the term ‘war strain’ and for treatment of soldiers’ emotional symptoms
  • 1919: Freud’s colleagues publish a book about his theory of ‘war neurosis,’ and Freud writes the introduction
  • 1920: Freud submits a memorandum about the rumored brutal treatment of psychologically wounded soldiers
  • 1939-1945: Terminology changes to ‘combat exhaustion’ during WWII, and U.S. Army adopts the official slogan, “Every man has  his breaking point”
  • 1943: General George Patton slaps two soldiers who were recuperating in a military hospital, and is ultimately relieved of his duties
  • 1945: U.S. Army creates a training video for unspecialized medical officers for the treatment of combat exhaustion, including administration of sodium pentothal and suggestive therapy
  • 1946: The National Mental Health Act is passed, and provides for expansion of mental health facilities
  • 1947: U.S. Army releases a documentary about causes and treatment of mental illness during WWII
  • 1952: ‘Gross stress reaction’ is included in DSM-I
  • 1953: Harold Wolff proposes a holistic model of stress based on an evolutionary model
  • 1965: Each military battalion is provided with officers trained to treat psychological problems during the Vietnam war
  • 1968: ‘Gross stress reaction’ is dropped from DSM-II
  • 1969: Pettera, Johnson, and Zimmer conceptualize ‘Vietnam combat reaction’
  • 1972: Chaim Shatan raises awareness of ‘post-Vietnam syndrome’ in the New York Times
  • 1980: ‘Posttraumatic stress disorder’ is added to DSM-III
  • 1987: DSM-III-R drops requirement that stressors be outside the range of normal human experience
  • 1993: Pat Barker’s work of historical fiction, Regeneration, is released
  • 2005: PBS FRONTLINE releases “The Soldier’s Heart” documentary
  • 2008: Grey’s Anatomy introduces a character with combat-related PTSD
  • 2008: The major motion picture, Brothers, is released
  • 2010: HBO releases “Wartorn 1861-2010″ documentary

One comment on “Timeline

  1. […] context of the Viet Nam War experience, the DSM IV of 1980 included a category by that name. [Go-to https://historyofptsd.wordpress.com/timeline-2/  for a very complete time line of prior efforts to categorize the issues of trauma caused […]

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