Gordon Turnbull

  • Trauma

  • The Ancient Greeks called it ‘trauma’. During the First World War it was known as ‘shellshock’. Only since Vietnam have we begun to understand the symptoms and causes of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. And to realise that it threatens us all.

    From victims of 9/11 and the London bombings, to soldiers and civilians in the world’s most devastating war zones and the victims and witnesses of violent crime at home, PTSD can affect anyone. Symptoms have been seen in those suffering bereavement, illness and infection, traffic accidents, house fires, and sexual assault and abuse. Thousands have become prisoners of their own devastated minds – overwhelmed by flashbacks, nightmares and a terrible feeling of isolation. But in almost every case, there is a cure.

    Gordon Turnbull recognised PTSD as a serious clinical condition from the start of his career. Since then he has offered his care and counsel to hundreds of sufferers, including the mountain rescue teams at Lockerbie, soldiers Andy McNab and Johnson Beharry VC, kidnap victims John McCarthy, Terry Anderson and Terry Waite, and many more from all walks of life. Part scientific detective story, part inspirational memoir, Trauma is the story behind the headlines, a fascinating and utterly compelling account of how he and his team help to rebuild lives, and piece together the fragments of troubled minds.

Gordon Turnbull went to medical school at Edinburgh University and then joined the RAF where he gained experience in general medicine, expedition medicine and neurology. He then trained in psychiatry and was drawn into the field of psychological trauma after the Lockerbie air disaster in 1988. After active service in the Gulf War of 1991 as an RAF psychiatric adviser in the field, he conducted the first-ever debriefings of British prisoners of war and British hostages released from the Lebanon. He developed new treatment strategies for trauma at the Princess Alexandra Hospital, RAF Wroughton, and post-RAF has concentrated on trauma services for police officers, emergency service personnel and military veterans and civilians. He is currently Consultant Psychiatrist in trauma at Capio Nightingale Hospital in London and the Ridgeway Hospital in Wroughton, adviser in Psychiatry to the Civil Aviation Authority, visiting professor to the University of Chester and one of the world's leading experts on PTSD.

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