Today in AFJ History

August 2, 2013  

1945: Treating PTSD during WWII

From the archives: August 11, 1945

Battle Fatigue Cure

A special receiving company is rehabilitating more than 200 soldiers a month, all of them hospital cases and most of them suffering from battle fatigue, according to reports from Headquarters of Lt. Gen. Robert C. Richardson’s U.S. Army Forces, Middle Pacific Area.

According to reports, it is an experiment in the salvage of maladjusted men and it is proving 90 per cent successful. For the most part they are men who have been unable to perform their formerly assigned jobs in the Army; men whose potential worth is badly needed to win the war, but who must be reconverted to new assignments because of physical or mental unfitness. A cadre of officers and noncoms, specialists in psychology, and job classification and assignment, operate the company. Upon release from the hospital, the men are certified “limited” or “rear area” duty. It is the task of the special receiver company to assure that medical limitations are observed, while at the same time, the replacements are employed to their maximum ability.

A great variety of causes can be found for the appearance of psychoneurotic conditions among victims of battle fatigue. Some men simply cannot adjust their minds to the horrors of war that their eyes must see. Others crack under the strain of pending physical injury. Some are psychologically incapable of returning to combat although their injuries have healed physically — theirs are constitutional cases of psychoneurosis in which they continue to feel pain from a healed wound.