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Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Diagnostic criteria for 309.81 Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

A. The person has been exposed to a traumatic event in which both of the following were present:

(1) the person experienced witnessed, or was confronted with an event or events that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others
(2) the person's response involved intense fear, helplessness, or horror. Note: In children, this may be expressed instead by disorganized or agitated behavior

B. The traumatic event is persistently reexperienced in one (or more) of the following ways:

(1) recurrent and intrusive distressing recollections of the event, including images, thoughts, or perceptions. Note: In young children, repetitive play may occur in which themes or aspects of the trauma are expressed
(2) recurrent distressing dreams of the event. Note: In children, there may be frightening dreams without recognizable event
(3) acting or feeling as if the traumatic event were recurring (includes a sense of reliving the experience, illusions, hallucinations, and dissociative flashback episodes, including those that occur on awakening or when intoxicated). Note: In young children, trauma-specific reenactment may occur
(4) intense psychological distress at exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event
(5) physiological reactivity on exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event

C. Persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma and numbing of general responsiveness (not present before the trauma), as indicated by three (or more) of the following:

(1) efforts to avoid thoughts, feelings, or conversations associated with the trauma
(2) efforts to avoid activities, places, or people that arouse recollections of the trauma
(3) inability to recall an important aspect of the trauma
(4) markedly diminished interest or participation in significant activities
(5) feeling of detachment or estrangement from others
(6) restricted range of affect (e.g., unable to have loving feelings)
(7) sense of a foreshortened future (e.g., does not expect to have a career, marriage, children, or a normal life span)

D. Persistent symptoms of incrase arousal (not present before the trauma), as indicated by two (or more) of the following:

(1) difficulty falling or staying asleep
(2) irritability or outbursts of anger
(3) difficulty concentrating
(4) hypervigilance
(5) exaggerated startle response

E. Duration of the disturbance (symptoms in Criteria B, C, and D) is more than 1 month.

F. The disturbance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of function.

Specify if:
Acute: if duration of symptoms is less than 3 months
Chronic: if duration of symptoms is 3 months or more

Specifiy if:
With Delayed Onset: if onset of symptoms is at least 6 months after the stressor (p. 427-9)

(1994) American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic And Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Association

Links to PTSD Disorder websites:

  • The Etiology Of Combat-Related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders
  • The International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies
  • National Centerfor PTSD
  • PILOTS(Published International Literature on Traumatic Stress)
  • Sidran Foundation's Trauma & Dissociation
  • The Traumatic Stress Home Page
  • American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress
  • APA's Tips on Managing & Treating Traumatic Stress
  • APA's Let's talk Fact's About PTSD
  • National Center for PTSD
  • Post Traumatic Stress Resources
  • Psychological Trauma and Substance Abuse in Women
  • Trauma Information Pages
  • University of Virginia Youth Violence Project
  • Veterans Affairs' National Center for PTSD
  • PTSD Links
  • PTSD Alliance
  • - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • National Center for PTSD
  • Hand Me Down Hurt: PTSD Across the Generations
  • About Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • PTSD Sanctuary
  • David Baldwin's Trauma Information Pages
  • National Center for PTSD
  • PTSD
  • Gift from Within
  • PTSD Support Services
  • Dedicated to all Veterans of War Coping with PTSD
  • Effects of War on Children.
  • Information for Veterans
  • Issues in Trauma & Dissociation
  • List of Clinical Trials
  • Lucid Dream Therapy As A Treatment ForPost Traumatic Stress
  • Military Veterans (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) PTSD Reference Manual
  • National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Recovery
  • Psychological Effects of War
  • PTSD
  • PTSD - Combat Veterans Research



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