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Doctors at war: psychiatry in the Gulf

  • Martin P. Deahl (a1)
Extract

When Britain committed an armoured division to the Gulf in the autumn of 1990, it was inevitable that psychiatrists and other mental health personnel would be required. Battleshock, or combat stress, is important to the Army – it not only accounts for significant numbers of casualties in any land war, but, unlike other casualties, represents a potentially avoidable loss of manpower and important source of reinforcement. Based largely on the experience of Arab-Israeli conflicts it is believed that, with appropriate management, up to 90% of battleshock cases can be returned to duty within seven days. Moreover, it is thought that early recognition and intervention may reduce the incidence of PTSD and other long-term psychiatric sequelae (Foy et al 1987; Solomon & Benbenishty, 1986). Fortunately, Battleshock claimed few victims in the Gulf, due mainly to the brevity of the land war and the high state of motivation and morale of the allied force. The effectiveness of the Army's policy of early recognition of battleshock cases with minimal medical intervention on the battlefield and rapid return to duty remains uncertain and untested (Dunning, 1990).

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
References
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Dunning, C. (1990) Mental health sequelae in disaster workers: prevention and intervention. International Journal of Mental Health, 19, 91103.
Foy, D. W. Carrol, E. M. & Donahue, C. P. Jr. (1987) Etiological factors in the development of post traumtic stress disorder in clinical samples of Vietnam combat veterans. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 43, 1727.
Solomon, Z. & Benbenishty, R. (1986) The role of proximity, immediacy and expectancy in frontline treatment of combat stress reactions among Israelis in the Lebanon war. Psychiatry, 52, 428436.
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 0955-6036
  • EISSN: 1472-1473
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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Doctors at war: psychiatry in the Gulf

  • Martin P. Deahl (a1)
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