PTSD: Often Misunderstood and Misidentified
“Shell shock” and “combat shock” were earlier attempts to define and understand the symptoms of PTSD. Post-traumatic stress disorder was often stigmatized in popular culture after the Vietnam conflict, and many films and television shows featured antagonists or unsympathetic characters suffering from “Vietnam flashbacks” or other issues.
The misunderstanding of PTSD slowly began to change in 1980 when it was recognized as a specific condition with identifiable symptoms. It was then the disorder was listed in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).
This manual is a diagnostic tool for mental health professionals and paraprofessional workers in the healthcare field and is considered a definitive reference. The addition of PTSD to the DSM was a highly significant development.