Body and Soul
A mental health clinic is not usually the first station for soldiers with somatic problems. More often they turn to a medical doctor, even though the underlying problem is psychiatric. Being unaware of and/or reluctant to admit their emotional distress, they seek help from their general practitioner or IDF doctor, presenting somatic problems. This situation has led a longtime IDF physician to joke that lower back pains are the major medical problem in the Israeli army. He called them the soldiers’ fig leaf—a discrete cover for emotional distress, more acceptable both to the army and the men themselves than the pain of the mind.
KeywordsSomatic Complaint Mental Health Clinic Physical Complaint Vietnam Veteran Somatic Illness
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