It’s the small things that set me slightly ajar. For example, writing that penicillin was invented, as William Easterly does, in his FT January opinion piece on the do-goodery smugness of some Western elite when it comes to world poverty. [
Now I would say PTSD was invented i.e. it’s a concept, like some other mental disturbances. It hasn’t been lurking out there in the unknown under some rock, just waiting to be discovered or revealed by a serendipitous accident. Rather it is, as Allen Young said, a ““harmony of illusions," a cultural product gradually put together by the practices, technologies, and narratives with which it is diagnosed, studied, and treated and by the various interests, institutions, and moral arguments mobilizing these efforts.” [ http://j.mp/1jSD9Rr ].
Which doesn’t mean people don’t suffer, just that cultures invent ways of dealing with “things” and I’d say some inventions are more successful than others and not necessarily for medical reasons.
This is a succinct review of Young’s book by Edward M. Brown M.D., Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Brown University -http://j.mp/1jSExnl [note he writes the construction of the diagnosis of PTSD in the review]
What I’ve not yet read much about, though I think about it and have my own view, is why has PTSD become the disorder du jour, so-to-speak. The military conflicts the West has been involved in, so far, in the 21st century have been relatively minor in comparison to the horrors of the 20th century, so why the rash of PTSD? Derek Summerfield noted that “... the diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder has become almost totemic.” Summerfield weote further : “Originally framed as applying only to extreme experiences that people would not expect to encounter every day, it has come to be associated with a growing list of relatively commonplace events: accidents, muggings, a difficult labour (with healthy baby), verbal sexual harassment, or the shock of receiving (inaccurate) bad news from a doctor even in cases in which the incorrect diagnosis has been rescinded shortly afterwards. Increasingly the workplace in Britain is being portrayed as traumatogenic even for those who are just doing their jobs: paramedics attending road accidents, police constables on duty at disasters, and even employees caught up in what would once have been described as a straightforward dispute with management.” http://j.mp/RAB3uO