The Concept Of Ptsd: A Critical Appraisal

Article Title: The Concept Of Ptsd: A Critical Appraisal

Author(s): D S Goel

Institute(s): Southland Hospital Mental Health Services, Invercargill, New Zealand.

Journal: Journal of Pakistan Psychiatric Society, 2006, Vol. 3, No.2, p. 66–69

Correspondence Address:


Both Pakistan and India have faced enormous disasters in recent years in the form of earthquake on 8 October 2005 and Tsunami. The mental health professionals in these situations are invariably faced with the mental health consequences of such colossal disasters. It is crucial that our response is based on critical appraisal of the concepts and treatments which could be employed in these situations. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is frequently thought to be the natural consequences of these disasters in almost every setting. The assumed universality of PTSD has been strongly contested in recent times by sociologists, medical anthropologists and mental health professionals. It is interesting to note that the concept of PTSD had its origins in the aftermath of military campaigns as is discussed in more details in following paragraphs. However, recent critique of the concept is based more on discourse in disasters in non military settings . I would like to explore the dialectics of the concept in view of its history, literature from military Psychiatry as well as my three decades of experience as a military psychiatrist.

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