Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: the invisible injury, 2005 edition
Paperback, 16 chapters, 224 pages with resources and index
"This is the book I so badly wanted to read when
I was traumatised."
David Kinchin, Author
David Kinchin's reassuring and sensitively-written book validates, explains and relieves the silent unseen suffering of trauma.
"Trauma survivors will feel vindicated,
supported and reassured by reading this keynote book."
Dr Gordon Turnbull, PTSD Treatment Unit, Ticehurst House Hospital, Sussex, UK
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a natural emotional reaction to a deeply shocking and disturbing experience. The causes of PTSD range from a single major life-threatening incident (eg war, act of violence, accident, disaster, etc) to a prolonged series of events (eg bullying, harassment, abuse, violent partner, attending road traffic accidents, fires and disasters etc).
The period 1985-1989 is often referred to as "the UK disaster era", with a number of tragedies hitting the headlines (fatalities are in brackets):
12 May 1985 Bradford City Football Stadium fire (40)
29 May 1985 Heysel Stadium crowd disturbance (56)
22 Aug 1985 Manchester Airport fire (55)
6 Mar 1987 Herald of Free Enterprise sank (187)
19 Aug 1987 Hungerford shootings (16)
11 Nov 1987 Enniskillen bombing (11)
18 Nov 1987 King's Cross underground station fire (31)
6 Jul 1988 Piper Alpha North Sea oil rig fire (167)
12 Dec 1988 Clapham rail crash (35)
21 Dec 1988 Lockerbie plane crash (270)
8 Jan 1989 East Midlands Kegworth air crash (47)
15 Apr 1989 Hillsborough Football Stadium disaster (95)
20 Aug 1989 Marchioness pleasure boat sank (51)
Total fatalities are 1,061 from these 13 incidents. In the same period there were 108,862 deaths from accidents and violence. What neither of these figures reveal, however, is the suffering of survivors, witnesses and relatives, although in the case of the Hillsborough football stadium disaster, moral issues were raised when police officers who were on duty at the ground made compensation claims for psychiatric injury against their employer whilst relatives of those who died found themselves not eligible for compensation.
Recently the world has seen more major disasters. The UK has experienced three serious train crashes in as many years (Slough, Paddington Green and Hatfield). On 11 September 2001 the worst terrorist atrocity ever claimed the lives of over 6000 people in New York and Washington as terrorists hijacked commercial airplanes and crashed them into the twin towers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The twin towers subsequently collapsed killing nearly 400 police, fire officers and other emergency service personnel.
PTSD has been recognised since at least the sixth century BC and has been given many names including shell shock, war neurosis, soldier's heart, gross stress reaction, transient situation disturbance, tunnel disease, railway spine disorder, combat stress, combat fatigue, battle fatigue, stress breakdown, adjustment reaction of adult life, post-Vietnam syndrome, traumatic neurosis, rape trauma syndrome, child abuse syndrome, battered wife syndrome and Buffalo Creek syndrome. The name Post Traumatic Stress Disorder first appeared in 1980 in DSM-III, the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Third Edition. The diagnosis was updated in 1994 in the latest edition, DSM-IV (click here for diagnostic criteria). Tim Field prefers the term "psychiatric injury" to "mental disorder" (click here for differences).
In World War 1, PTSD (then called shell shock) was labelled by British Army officers as "cowardice" and "desertion" often as a pretext for shooting their own men (306 were so executed on the orders of General Haig - see separate page); in World War II it was labelled by the UK Royal Air Force as "lack of moral fibre" or "LMF". Today in the workplace it is often labelled as "stress". In each instance there is a deliberate inference that it is the individual's inability to cope; in truth, the designation is more likely to be a projection of the accuser's own inadequacy.
In the UK, almost a million people are suffering the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Now surveys suggest as many as 14 million people are bullied at work; as a result, many more people are suffering symptoms of PTSD. Whilst we can all recognise physical violence and the injuries and damage it causes, we are less good at recognising psychological violence (bullying) and the psychiatric injury it causes. When psychiatric injury is caused by conditions in the workplace, the diagnosis is usually "stress" and "anxiety"; however, most employees are unaware that their ill health symptoms collectively are PTSD or that the cause of their stress is bullying.
A former sufferer of PTSD, David Kinchin tells his story and those of ten others. He describes in plain language what it is like to suffer from PTSD and explains all the complications the disorder can include.
The symptoms of PTSD include:
Further symptoms of chronic stress and reasons for chronic fatigue are listed on the health page.
Few people realise that psychiatric injury can be even more devastating than physical injury; however, prospects for recovery are good, especially when you are in the company of fellow survivors or those with genuine insight, empathy and experience.
Now David Kinchin shares the knowledge and insight gained from his own experience in a unique book by a former PTSD sufferer for PTSD sufferers, showing you how to:
1. What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder? How many people suffer PTSD? PTSD and the UK disaster era 1985-1990 (Heysel, Hillsborough, Hungerford, Herald of Free Enterprise, Piper Alpha, Marchioness, etc).
2. Personal stories - follow the progress of eleven people recovering from PTSD having experienced violence, rape, accident, bullying, ship sinking, suicide of friend, etc
3. Symptoms. The six criteria required for a diagnosis of PTSD.
4. Families, friends and faith. The reactions and support of those around the sufferer.
5. Complications. Panic, depression, drug abuse, adverse publicity, ignorance of PTSD, relapses in recovery, measuring progress in recovery.
6. PTSD and abuse. Betrayal of trust and its effect on relationships.
7. PTSD and bullying. David Kinchin's and Tim Field's books are, to my knowledge, the only books in the world that map the collective symptoms of psychiatric injury caused by bullying onto PTSD, or Complex PTSD.
8. PTSD and children. Characteristics of PTSD unique to children. Not only adults suffer PTSD. Aberfan, Romania, Bosnia, Ethiopia. Children are the forgotten victims, not only of hunger, disease, injury, abuse, malnutrition, and starvation, but also often a lifetime of unrecognised and undiagnosed trauma.
9. PTSD and terrorism. The eight crucial Do's and Don'ts when helping victims of terrorism.
10. People who can help. Resources from professionals to fellow sufferers.
11. Treatments for PTSD. An overview from drugs to counselling and therapy.
12. The debriefing debate. Critical incident debriefing, the Mitchell Model, the Dyregrov Model and the three-stage revised model (after Parkinson).
13. Recovery from PTSD. The snakes and ladders model, revised thinking, recovery from Complex PTSD.
14. Personal stories. Progress of the eleven people featured.
15. Legal actions. Pursuing compensation through the courts.
16. The future. Final update on the eleven cases.
References and further reading.
Reassuring and essential reading for survivors of
and their rescuers, relatives, carers, counsellors, therapists, etc.
Unique insight for anyone working in
The only book in the world, we believe, written by a former PTSD sufferer for PTSD sufferers (and their families, carers and professionals)
"Most people will survive a major trauma but many do not believe this.
David Kinchin's compassionate and informative contribution will help them."
Suzanna Rose, Institute of Psychiatry
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Neil Marr and Tim Field's book Bullycide: death at playtime exposes
the hidden epidemic of child suicide caused by bullying and harassment
About the authors Tim Field and Neil Marr
Tim Field's book Bully in sight validates the experience of bullying and
defines the psychiatric injury caused by bullying and harassment
David Kinchin's book Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: the invisible injury
validates and relieves the silent unseen suffering of trauma
Other reading | Books from Success Unlimited | Bookshop
Related pages of interest
Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Stress and injury to health
Workshops by David Kinchin
Profile of author David Kinchin
The Field Foundation |
Workplace bullying | School bullying | Family bullying
Bullying news | Bullying case histories
Bullying resources | Press and media centre
Stress and PTSD | Action to tackle bullying | Related issues
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