Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

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Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Definition

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder ( PTSD ) is an anxiety disorder that develops after a severe traumatic event or experience. Several distressing symptoms are common in the person with PTSD, including Psychic numbing, emotion anesthesia, increased arousal, or unwanted re-experiencing of the trauma. These symptoms can effect any sex or age group. Anxiety, irritability, and depression are also common in people who have PTSD. People with PTSD have a diminished ability to experience emotion, including tenderness or intimacy. There may be problems falling or staying asleep. A person with PTSD will avoid any reminders of the trauma but re-experiencing the event in dreams, nightmares, or painful memories are common. Some people will turn to drugs or alcohol to escape the pain of PTSD, while others may become suicidal or self-defeating.

ONSET:

COMMON: Any age, symptoms start within 3 months of trauma.

LESS COMMON: Symptoms start after 3 months or years of trauma.

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Diagnostic Criteria

ALL THE FOLLOWING MUST BE AFTER TRAUMA, NOT DUE TO A SUBSTANCE, GENERAL MEDICAL CONDITION, OR OTHER DISORDER.

Must have been exposed to a traumatic event or experience involving intense fear, horror, or helplessness. The event or experience must involve a threat of death, serious injury, or physical integrity. The event or experience may be to yourself or to others around you.

The event or experience must be re-experienced in at least one of the following ways:

  1. Distressing recollections of the event or experience that is both intrusive and reoccurring.
  2. Dreams that are reoccurring and distressful.
  3. Reliving the event or experience in the form of flashbacks, hallucinations, or illusions.
  4. If exposed to any aspect of the event or experience a intense psychological distress followed.
  5. Reacting in a physiological manner to any aspect of the event or experience

Avoidance of anything associated with the trauma and a numbing of responsiveness. Indicated by at least three of the following:

  1. Avoiding any thoughts or feelings about the trauma, including not wishing to engage in any conversation about the event or experience.
  2. Avoidance of places, persons, or things that set off feelings about the trauma.
  3. Can not recall import face about the event or experience.
  4. A marked disinterest in significant activities.
  5. Feelings of being detached or alienation from others.
  6. Changes in range of affect. ( E.g., loss of loving feelings )
  7. Feelings of no real future.

Persistent indicators of increased arousal, at least two of the following:

  1. Problems with falling or staying asleep.
  2. Irritability or outbursts of anger, sometimes unexpected and for no apparent reason.
  3. Having problems concentrating.
  4. Hypervigilance.
  5. Response to being startled is overstated.

A, B, and C must endure for more then one month.

There must be impairment in important areas of functioning. (E.g., work, social life, ... )

Related Treatment Type

Psychotherapy

Photo by John Nyboer

 
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