Post-Traumatic Stress and Civil War

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Post-traumatic stress disorder is one of the most overlooked psychological disorders in society. For the longest time it was not looked at as a serious problem. Post-traumatic stress disorder is indeed an issue. Within this essay, I will be discussing its effect on army veterans and sexual assault survivors.

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When most people think about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) they often think about military veterans. PTSD can be seen in veterans as early as the civil war, although during these times it was known simply as acute mania. Because there was really no way to properly treat these disorders in the 19th century, many returning veterans were committed to insane asylums where they often stayed until their deaths. This can be seen in the case of John Hildt. Before he went to the war, Hildt was a normal man, but that all changed when he returned home from the war. He was committed to the Government Hospital for the Insane in the nation’s capital of Washington, D.C. where he ultimately died. According to the article on Smithsonian.com, “Hildt remained withdrawn, apathetic, and at times so ‘excited and disturbed’ that he hit other patients at the asylum” (Horwitz, 2015). When a soldier is at war they are exposed to all kinds of dangers. They along with others in their units are shot at constantly and are sometimes killed. Experiencing these things can take a toll on a person. During this time, treatment for this disorder was almost unheard of. According to the same article, “Treatment consisted mainly of ‘moral therapy,’ a regime of rest and light labor in hospital gardens, which perched atop what was once a peaceful and bucolic hilltop in Anacostia” (Horwitz, 2015). This could only do so much for a person. It is a proven fact that it can be found in not only veterans, but also survivors of sexual assault.

Every year there are several men and women that are raped, sexually abused, or sexually assaulted. According to an article titled Sexual assault survivors’ PTSD can have lifelong consequences, “” Victims of sexual assault…often attempt to forget the sexual assault,’ Holman said. ‘They often do no believe they will be believed, and (they) feel ashamed and blame themselves. This can result in post-traumatic stress disorder’” (Turman, 2018). The issue of sexual assault is not addressed as often as it should be. As a way of coping with the horrific events that occur to them, survivors often self-harm themselves or become drug addicts/alcoholics. According to this same article, “” (They) attempt to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs or sometimes engage in risky behaviors that lead to additional assaults,’ Holman said” (Turman, 2018). When dealing with the aftermath of an assault, survivors will oftentimes have flashbacks about the event that happened to them.

In conclusion, within this essay, I have discussed its effect on army veterans and sexual assault survivors. Although it has become more of a hot topic in discussions in recent years, post-traumatic stress disorder is still not regarded as a huge problem. Hopefully in the near future it will receive as much attention as other psychological disorders.

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Post-Traumatic Stress And Civil War. (2022, Apr 14). Retrieved December 8, 2022 , from
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