Sassoon, Owen and Graves
The history of Craiglockhart
The War's effect on ordinary people
links to related sites
Acknowledgements, credit and contact
Pat Barker's trilogy
Music, prose and trench art
Shell shock, neurasthenia and war neurosis
Shell shock 2
Soldiers who were diagnosed with 'shell shock', 'neurasthenia', and 'war neurosis' in the hospitals and casualty stations on or near the battlefields, were sent back Britain for treatment. The War Office used the term 'shell shock' to describe soldiers who were so traumatised that they were unable to carry out their duties on the battlefield. Early in the war, these soldiers were accused of being 'cowards' or 'deserters' and were shot, and by 1918 the War Office had eradicated the

term from its documents. Nor was it a British phenomenon - German doctors called the symptoms of their soldiers kriegsneurose and the French described the illness as la confusion mentale de la guerre. French shell shocked soldiers could not be medically discharged from the forces with this disorder nor could they claim a disability pension.

Official British figures claim that 80 000 cases of shell shock passed through the various medical facilities during WW1 but many cases were covered up by sending psychiatric cases to ordinary hospitals and the true figure could be approximately 200 000 cases. German records recorded a figure of 613 047 cases of nervous disorders between 1913-1918.

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Treatments and therapies page 2