Posttraumatic stress disorder

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) defined:

PTSD can occur following exposure to an event that is, or is perceived to be, threatening to the well-being of oneself or another person. The distinctive profile of symptoms in PTSD include: 1) exposure to a traumatic event that involved the threat of death or serious injury (Criterion A), 2) re-experiencing the event in the form of intrusive thoughts, nightmares, flashbacks to the traumatic event, and psychophysiological reactivity to cues of the traumatic event (Criterion B), 3) avoidance of thoughts, people, and places that resemble the traumatic event, emotional numbing, and an absence of emotional attachments (Criterion C), and 4) symptoms of hyperarousal, including heightened startle sensitivity, sleep problems, attentional difficulties, hypervigilance, and the presence of irritability and anger (Criterion D; American Psychiatric Association, 1994). The traumatic events most often associated with PTSD in men are rape, combat exposure, childhood neglect, and childhood physical abuse. For women, the most common events associated with PTSD are childhood physical abuse, sexual molestation, rape, physical attack, and being threatened with a weapon ( Kessler et al., 1994 ).






American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4 th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

Kessler, R. C., McGonagle, K. A., Zhao, S., Nelson, C. B., Hughes, M., Eshleman, S., et al. (1994). Lifetime and 12-month prevalence of DSM-III-R psychiatric disorders in the United States: Results from the National Comorbidity Survey. Archives of General Psychiatry, 51, 8-19.