Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, History of

The diagnostic category of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has evolved during the past two centuries. This entry explores the evolution of the PTSD diagnostic category and the need for additional diagnostic categories for trauma. Historically, it has been recognized that trauma can cause long-term physiological and psychological problems. The word trauma is a direct borrowing of the ancient Greek word trauma, which was used to refer to the bodily wounds or injuries suffered by soldiers from the piercing of their armor. Later in history, particularly in medical and psychiatric literature, trauma was understood as a wound inflicted on the mind, rather than on the body. People's responses to psychological trauma might be understood as a result of “piercing” through their protective mental defenses. Homer's Iliad ...

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