What was the British Military’s approach to treating Shell-Shock in World War One Essay

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Focus Question: What was the British Military’s approach to treating Shell-Shock in World War One (WWI)? A) Plan of Investigation: WWI welcomed a new demon within the military. The mental toll taken on a soldier who is stuck in a claustrophobic trench, being bombarded for weeks at a time is immeasurable. For the first time, the military had to address soldiers who were rendered incapacitated simply by their surroundings. This essay will investigate Shell-Shock and how the British military dealt with it. A narrative taken from the journal of a soldier will be analyzed, and some of the writings on psychiatry and Shell-Shock in WWI, and shock to the body. I will review what the British military did during WWI for sufferers of Shell-Shock, and how effective these methods were. B) Summary of Evidence: 1. The effects of Shell-Shock Shell-Shock is one of the most recognized psychological conditions stemming from WWI. Being caught near an explosive shell can leave a person blinded, deaf, dumb, semi-paralysed, in a state of stupor, and very often suffering from amnesia. Just as bad as being struck by shells was the effect on those who found themselves waiting to be hit by one. Soldiers became obsessive when they saw their friends and fellows dragged out of the trenches screaming, worried they were next. “A lot of men who tell you they were buried by a shell are not telling the truth at all. They only think they are. After months of living with the fear of being blown up, the thing becomes real to them – it is what they are thinking of day in and day out. They think they were buried by a shell and they gradually come to believe that it was absolutely true.” This difference in cases became known as commotional and emotional , commotional being a soldier who was struck by a shell, and emotional being a soldier who broke down in fear. In addition to constantly waiting to

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