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GROSS STRESS REACTION IN COMBAT—A 15-YEAR FOLLOW-UP
HERBERT C. ARCHIBALD; DOROTHY M. LONG; CHRISTINE MILLER; READ D. TUDDENHAM
Am J Psychiatry 1962;119:317-322.
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Mental Hygiene Clinic, Oakland VA Office.

University of California, Berkeley, Calif.

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Abstract

While there are similarities between the combat patients and the non-combat controls, a clear-cut picture emerges of the combat veteran syndrome with a severely disabling condition involving startle reactions, sleep difficulties, dizziness, blackouts, avoidance of activities similar to combat experience, and internalization of feelings. He is not however psychotic.The achievements of the medical and allied professions especially in dealing with the acute combat cases have been valuable but less and less interest is being shown to this particular group of veterans. In many hospitals and clinics there is no official record kept as to whether a patient was ever in combat. It is suggested that if we are to continue to study this group of patients we must at least keep track of them. Particularly with the recent emphasis on "here and now" in psychotherapy a combat veteran's tendency to avoid discussing his traumatic combat experiences may easily create a tacit agreement between the therapist and the veteran to avoid the subject. We suggest that a continuing and broadening attack on the psychological aspects of these problems is indicated. Such a study will help to clarify our concept of psychoneurosis in general and contribute to the maintenance and improvement of these men.

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