Psychiatry, Military

Since at least the American Civil War, the U.S. military has attempted to properly identify and treat psychiatric casualties of war. Using ideas pioneered by Napoleon’s chief medical officer Baron Larrey, Union general William Hammod attempted to address the problem of psychiatric casualties often diagnosed under the category of nostalgia, a broad term covering a wide spectrum of signs ranging from homesickness to uncontrollable tremors. These early attempts to identify and treat psychiatric casualties were primitive and haphazard at best, though they did usher in the fundamental issues of U.S. military psychiatry. First, are psychiatric casualties legitimate? Second, if so, what is the proper medical definition of a psychiatric casualty? And based on the definition, what is the best way to either prevent or ...

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