War neurosis during the SCW

December 20, 2010

The most recent issue of the journal History of Psychiatry features an article by Olga Villasante on “War Neurosis during the Spanish Civil War,” focusing on the work of IB-member Gregorio Bermann (1894–1972), who “organized the frontline Neuropsychiatric Service at the Hospital de Chamartín de La Rosa (Madrid). Bermann wrote about his personal experience in the care of war neurosis in Spain when he returned to Argentina”  in Las neurosis en la guerra (1941).

Bermann had seen 408 patients in an avant-garde neuropsychiatric centre, not far from the front, but away from the firing line. He observed the patients over five months and his diagnoses were not based on Kraepelinian nosology, since he did not consider it appropriate for war psychiatry. He found the following among the most frequent clinical symptoms: antiwar hysteria (61 patients), pre-war epileptic syndromes (50), neurological syndromes (41), internal diseases (31), emotive neurosis (28), nervousness (25), nervous exhaustion and war neurasthenia (25) and war hysteria (20).

Read the whole article at Sage Publications (subscription req.).