shell shock


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shell shock

1. dated Intense psychological damage or strain occurring as the result of prolonged combat engagement in warfare, resulting in myriad negative side effects such as nightmares, anxiety, emotional detachment, anger, and so on. The term was popularized during the First World War in reference to soldiers returning from combat; it is known in modern times as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and has expanded to cover the psychological damage caused by any kind of traumatic event. My brother came home with such terrible shell shock that I could no longer even converse with him as I had in the past. When you come back home with PTSD that doesn't line up with what they think shell shock ought to look like, it makes it hard for them to sympathize with you.
2. By extension, a state of utter disbelief, confusion, grief, or shock caused by a powerful and upsetting event. The family has been dealing with shell shock after finding out their father had gambled away their life savings. The fans seemed to be stricken with shell shock after their team—heavily favored to win the championship—were robbed of victory in the final seconds of the game.
See also: shell, shock

shell shock

Psychological adverse reaction to combat. The phrase originated during World War I when intensive enemy artillery bombarding caused soldiers in the trenches to suffer from a variety of traumas that ranged from moderate panic attacks to physical and emotional paralysis. Changes in warfare and psychological lingo caused the phrase to be replaced during the Second World War by “battle fatigue” and more recently to “posttraumatic stress disorder.”
See also: shell, shock
References in periodicals archive ?
I think Rainbird was shell shocked. His was a forward observation role, sketching the topography and buildings for the artilleryDave Young
But the reality of the circumstances surrounding shell shock and the execution of soldiers is far more complex.
shell shock during and after the war, British accounts--from Rebecca
Freud's own views of shell shock are of historical import not only because of his contemporaneity with the events at issue in the book, but also because, as Kaes addresses, Freud actually served as an expert witness in a legal case involving a shell-shocked former soldier who sued his doctor for malpractice.
And yet, whether it's called battle fatigue, or post-traumatic stress disorder, or operational stress injury, one thing--the stigma surrounding shell shock lingers.
His sergeant-major was quoted in court-martial papers as saying: "You are a f**king coward and you will go to the trenches", and "If you don't go up to the front, I'm going to blow your f**king brains out." The Defence Secretary rejected Pte Farr's case on the grounds that it could not be proven conclusively that shell shock was behind Farr's refusal to go back to the front.
Shell Shock then exposes the company's appalling environmental record and reveals the possible ecological consequences of current plans to extract oil from Sakhalin Island, off Russia's Pacific coast.
Thus the concept is more comprehensive than old terms like shell shock or combat exhaustion.
Attention to "shell shock" in World War I provided an additional ingredient, and by the 1920s, along with continued use of neurasthenia and stress or strain, nervous breakdown had clearly become part of a standard American vocabulary.
Showalter's thesis hangs on the idea that the syndrome is analogous to the PTSD suffered by all combat vets, for which "shell shock" was coined to avoid having to label men "hysterical." But she knows that Iraq had a biological arsenal and that we ourselves made a big mess with Agent Orange in Vietnam.
Shell shock treatments during and after the First World War varied, from the idea that patients would be cured from psychoanalysis to harsh and sometimes cruel "suggestive" methods.
Cellairis, the world's largest franchised wireless accessory company, today announces the launch of Shell Shock: G-Class - a new series of highly durable screen protectors for iPhone 4/4s and iPod Touch 4.
Pte Farr's 94-year-old daughter Gertrude Harris said: "I have always argued that my father's refusal to rejoin the frontline, described in the court martial as resulting from cowardice, was in fact the result of shell shock. I believe many other soldiers also suffered from its effects."
The family has always maintained her father was no coward but a victim of shell shock, and his plight was ignored.