Shell Shock

The diagnosis of shell shock first appeared in the medical journal The Lancet in February 1915 when it was observed there was a complete similarity of symptoms in men exposed to the noise and stress of exploding shells. It was a new sort of warfare. By 1916, many more symptoms, including emotional collapse, were recognised as being precipitated by the ‘hardly imaginable horrors of trench warfare’. By 1917, medical officers were being instructed to avoid the term ‘shell shock’ as it was having an impact on morale.