In 1985, Michael R. Trimple wrote in the book Trauma And Its Wake, "To this British observer, the term 'post-traumatic stress disorder' springs from the pages of the DSM-III like some newly found tropical flower, previously undescribed, yet clearly present in its full-blooded maturity for any onlooker to see."
Just five years before, PTSD had been added to the DSM, psychology's standard diagnostic manual, amidst much controversy. But in the 31 years since, Trimple's description of PTSD as a condition that has always been around, flowering silently, has been largely accepted. Of course, PTSD existed long before doctors gave it a name and a diagnostic code. Some researchers point to Shakespeare's "King Henry IV," wondering if the bard's character was showing symptoms of the disorder. Samuel Pepy's Diary, in which he recounts the Great Fire of London, has been similarly analyzed as a text that describes PTSD.
But naming a disorder does help it become more accepted. Today, the premise that a combat veteran might return with PTSD a well publicized idea. But the idea that a woman who has experienced abuse and trauma might experience the disorder is still called into question.