Shell Shock

The Sept. 11, terrorist attacks at the Pentagon, in New York City and Pennsylvania claimed far more than thousands of innocent lives. Some experts believe millions of Americans across the country may have been psychologically affected by the events as well. “Post-traumatic stress disorder is a very complex syndrome that results from an individual’s experience with major life trauma,” Dr. David Tornberg, deputy assistant secretary of defense for clinical and program policy. The doctor noted that military health professionals have dealt for decades with ptsd — more commonly known as “shell shock” or “combat fatigue” in military circles. It can lead to stress or anxiety that causes people to do things they wouldn’t normally consider — like abuse alcohol, drive drunk, road rage or even suicide. Military medical researchers, Tornberg said, determined decades ago that shell shock was “a tremendous disabler” that pervaded among fighting men during World War I. “We were much better prepared in World War II [to deal] with combat fatigue,” Tornberg said. Prevention and treatment methods developed by researchers between the wars, he added, enabled 60 to 80 percent of combat-fatigue-affected troops to return to duty. He said accumulated knowledge of prevention and treatment of American service members affected by PTSD has been employed during and after subsequent wars. Routine anxiety caused by everyday stressors normally “dissipates with time,” Tornberg noted. PTSD left untreated may...

Read More