Mental trauma – These distracted times

Today, the medical world recognises the shock and horror to which combatants are exposed on the battlefield. They can be recognised long after the guns have fallen silent. But is this somehow a modern phenomenon only associated with the wars of the 20th and 21st centuries? Or can historical research find similar cases and symptoms in veterans of earlier wars? The Civil War Petitions project, which has transcribed and analysed more than 4000 petitions from veterans, their wives and widows and even communities seeking relief as a result of the wars, offers intriguing evidence of consequences of combat on ordinary soldiers from both sides. According to project manager Dr Ismini Pells, the individual stories reveal examples of veterans whose symptoms and behaviour we would recognise today as battlefield trauma, suggesting a diagnosis such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

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The World Turned Upside Down - The British Civil Wars 1638-1651
The World Turned Upside Down - The British Civil Wars 1638-1651
Mental trauma - These distracted times
/

Listen here

The World Turned Upside Down - The British Civil Wars 1638-1651
The World Turned Upside Down - The British Civil Wars 1638-1651
Mental trauma - These distracted times
/

Also available on

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Contributor

Ismini Pells

Ismini Pells

Project manager of the Civil War Petitions Project

Dr Ismini Pells is the project manager of the Civil War Petitions Project in the Department for Continuing Education at the University of Oxford. Her research interests…

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