LETTER: Pte Ryan's trauma
Tuesday 15 September 1998
Pte Ryan's trauma
Sir: As well as reviewing Saving Private Ryan ("Killing time killing Nazis", 10 September), I hope you will be covering its potential effect upon surviving war veterans. Over the past few years, I have seen an increasing number of people suffering from delayed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) related to wartime experiences.
Complaints have included nightmares, flashbacks, intense feelings of guilt, difficulties relating to others, preoccupying thoughts. These complaints have often been related to other events in the individuals' lives - death of a spouse, death of a wartime comrade, increasing time to think about the past because of illness or retirement - but are sometimes triggered by specific events, such as the D-Day anniversary memorials. It seems likely that, as in America, this film and the accompanying coverage will trigger delayed PTSD for some individuals and I trust that a percentage of the profits is being used to help such people.
Although I will see the film myself, I am not entirely convinced that the entertainment/education of the many is entirely worth the suffering of the few, particularly when they have already suffered.
Dr CHRIS ALLEN
Consultant Clinical Psychologist
Stoke Mandeville Hospital
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