Shuffleduck (shuffleduck) wrote in little_details,

Long term shellshock/neurasthenia treatments in England

Story Setting: Early 1920s England, Post-WW1 Britain.
Search Terms: long term shell shock treatment / shell shock dietary regime
/ post war shell shock treatment / officers shell shock world war one / world war one shell shock case study / neurasthenia treatment 1920s / shell shock rehabilitation


I'm writing in post-World War I 1920s England and I'm looking for help with a few (okay, a lot!) of queries surrounding long term shell shock treatment. There's a large amount of history and fiction to be found on treatment for shell shock/PTSD/trauma during the war -- but what about after? A few years after the war had ended, what would happen to the men who had left hospital care but were still suffering from shell shock or PTSD? Not badly enough for them to need to remain hospitalised for years afterwards (I know I read somewhere many were still in hospitals even by 1927) but severe enough that it affected their daily life? Now, I've read in a few places that many men were forgotten/abandoned post-war and many didn't find much sympathy in society - but was this the case for all? Was there no long term help?

1. The main character I'm focusing on here is an officer from a reasonably well-to-do family who was sent back with shell shock and never recovered enough to return to the front. What I'm looking for is, what help/advice (if any) would he be given for long term recovery in the years after the war, after he'd left hospital? Were these men ever checked up on? Did doctors give them long term plans before they left hospital, or would a reasonably well-off family from the time have paid for any help if the man wasn't improving or became worse? I'm looking for anything really, dietary regimes, suggested treatments, medication they might be prescribed, sleep tonics, anything!

2. While he was recovering during the war, how long might he have been hospitalised? If he was too ill to be sent back to war, how long would he have remained in hospital before he was allowed to go home (or sent to one of those specialist recovery houses - and if so, how long before he was discharged from there?), I'm sure it's very dependant on how severely affected he was, I'm not imaging he was the worst of cases, or rather, his symptoms are more internal/mental that outward (as in, he can walk fine, he can speak, but he's nervous/jumpy all the time, stressed and depressed). What I guess I mean is, was there a general recovery time the hospitals wanted to meet?

As he's not the worst of cases, and not one to open up about how terrible he really feels or want to bother people with it, would he pretty much have been packed off as 'well, you seem to have somewhat improved and you're saying you're fine so, bye'?

3. This question extends to treatments of PTSD or nervous disorders. I'm not sure if in the years after the war it would still be treated specifically as "shell shock" or would it be as a more prolonged nervous/anxiety disorder? I should say that the character has suffered from a familial history of nervous disorders in the past. Would this add to people thinking of his shell shock/inability to recover as really just his own making? And, if he were to break down/relapse more severely again, post-war, what treatments would be given in the 1920s for that?

Thank you for any help!

P.S: As a slightly cheeky aside, if anyone can point me to sites, books or any information aids to do with the British 1920s, that would be terrific! There is so much about American gangsters every time I Google around, but it's more tricky to find out about the general daily life of British 1920s people!
Tags: 1920-1929, ~psychology & psychiatry: historical, ~psychology & psychiatry: ptsd, ~world war i

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