Does the War End When the Shooting Stops? The Psychological Toll of War1


  • Zahava Solomon

    1. Department of Mental Health Medical Corps, Israel Defense Forces
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      Requests for reprints should be sent to Lt. Col. Zahava Solomon, Ph.D., Department of Mental Health, Medical Corps, Israel Defense Forces, Military P.O. Box 02149, Israel.

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    Zahava Solomon is also at Tel Aviv University, School of Social Work.


The unremitting conflict between Israel and its neighbors has created a situation that often exposes soldiers to the repeated stress of a number of wars. Studies conducted by the Research Branch of the Mental Health Department in the Israel Defense Forces Medical Corps have focused on the long-term mental health effects of such trauma. This article brings together the findings of a recent series of studies that examine the effects of both single and repeated exposure to the stress of battle, in terms of: (a) psychiatric breakdowns on the battlefield (Combat Stress Reaction); (b) enduring symptomatology (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder); and (c) the reactivation of previous traumas. Additional findings highlight the transgenerational effects of trauma as evidenced in the susceptibility of offspring of Holocaust survivors to combat stress reactions.