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The Harmony of Illusions: Inventing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
     

The Harmony of Illusions: Inventing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

5.0 2
by Allan Young
 

ISBN-10: 0691017239

ISBN-13: 9780691017235

Pub. Date: 10/27/1997

Publisher: Princeton University Press

As far back as we know, there have been individuals incapacitated by memories that have filled them with sadness and remorse, fright and horror, or a sense of irreparable loss. Only recently, however, have people tormented with such recollections been diagnosed as suffering from "post-traumatic stress disorder." Here Allan Young traces this malady, particularly as

Overview

As far back as we know, there have been individuals incapacitated by memories that have filled them with sadness and remorse, fright and horror, or a sense of irreparable loss. Only recently, however, have people tormented with such recollections been diagnosed as suffering from "post-traumatic stress disorder." Here Allan Young traces this malady, particularly as it is suffered by Vietnam veterans, to its beginnings in the emergence of ideas about the unconscious mind and to earlier manifestations of traumatic memory like shell shock or traumatic hysteria. In Young's view, PTSD is not a timeless or universal phenomenon newly discovered. Rather, it is 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.

This book is part history and part ethnography, and it includes a detailed account of everyday life in the treatment of Vietnam veterans with PTSD. To illustrate his points, Young presents a number of fascinating transcripts of the group therapy and diagnostic sessions that he observed firsthand over a period of two years. Through his comments and the transcripts themselves, the reader becomes familiar with the individual hospital personnel and clients and their struggle to make sense of life after a tragic war. One observes that everyone on the unit is heavily invested in the PTSD diagnosis: boundaries between therapist and patient are as unclear as were the distinctions between victim and victimizer in the jungles of Southeast Asia.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691017235
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
10/27/1997
Pages:
328
Product dimensions:
5.96(w) x 9.12(h) x 0.85(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction3
Pt. IThe Origins of Traumatic Memory
1Making Traumatic Memory13
2World War I43
Pt. IIThe Transformation of Traumatic Memory
3The DSM-III Revolution89
4The Architecture of Traumatic Time118
Pt. IIIPost-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Practice
5The Technology of Diagnosis145
6Everyday Life in a Psychiatric Unit176
7Talking about PTSD224
8The Biology of Traumatic Memory264
Conclusion287
Notes291
Works Cited299
Index321

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The Harmony of Illusions - Inventing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There were times when I only thought of myself as a mere cynic regarding PTSD. Then I read Young's book. It is truly a brilliant revelation of the truth of a "disorder" possessed of all the qualities of fad, cultism. and pathological ideology. The title "The Harmony of Illusions: The Invention of PTSD" says it all.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Dr. Young has created a new paradigm in the exploration and analysis of PTSD. He offers a cogent argument that this 'disorder' is the result of cultural influences, never before considered in defining this mental disorder, and as such, has reached beyond anything preceding his work. His language is eloquent and his posture is brilliantly exposited.