PTSD in the Crimean War ?

I’ve been looking at the fallout from the Madeleine Smith trial and had come across this summary of the annual report of the Royal Edinburgh Asylum from the Scotsman of 24 February 1858:

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which is interesting – unfortunately the reports don’t give the gender of the afflicted individuals, so I can’t say if the first person mentioned was a member of the legal profession (presumably male) who was stressed by the (for 1857) extremely salacious nature of the trial and depositions and suffered from stress akin to facebook content moderators dealing with confronting content.

However there was another interesting part of the report. Unfortunately it’s spread over two columns

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which sounds rather as if there was a recognition that not only could serious injuries to the head result in changes in behaviour, but also that the stress of combat could result in mental disturbance.

It would be interesting to look into this further, but while the records are available, they have not yet been digitised, and are inconveniently on the other side of the planet …


I was sufficiently intrigued by this to do a little more digging.

The topic has been under researched, but it looks as if a number of Crimean War soldiers we diagnosed as having an irritable heart – perhaps the same as was later described as Da Costa Syndrome during the American Civil War.

Other than a paper researching the occurrence of suicide in Crimean war veterans, I’ve been unable to find other substantial research into the effects of traumatic stress on Crimean war soldiers, although I did find a paper detailing a case of stress related chronic fatiguein a single Chelsea pensioner after service both in Crimea and the 1857 Indian rebellion…




About dgm

Former IT professional, previously a digital archiving and repository person, ex research psychologist, blogger, twitterer, and amateur classical medieval and nineteenth century historian ...
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1 Response to PTSD in the Crimean War ?

  1. Pingback: Madeleine Smith in Australia (Not) | stuff 'n other stuff

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