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PTSD: DSM IV Criteria
PTSD: DSM IV Criteria
There are many symptoms of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) that have been grouped by health professionals into 6 specific criteria. A person does not need to experience all the symptoms to be diagnosed with PTSD, but factors from each criterion are evident to help form a diagnosis of PTSD. Criteria A-F, listed below, are outlined in the 4th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM-IV.
A person must have experienced a traumatic event where both of the following occurred:
- The person experienced, witnessed, or was confronted with an event where there was the threat of or actual death or serious injury. The event may also have involved a threat to the person’s physical well-being or the physical well-being of another person.
- The person responded to the event with strong feelings of fear, anxiety, helplessness, or horror.
The person experiences at least one of the following re-experiencing symptoms of PTSD:
- Frequently having upsetting thoughts or memories about a traumatic event.
- Having recurrent nightmares.
- Acting or feeling as though the traumatic event were happening again, sometimes called a “flashback.”
- Having very strong feelings of distress when reminded of the traumatic event.
- Being physically responsive, such as experiencing a surge in your heart rate or sweating, to reminders of the traumatic event.
The person experiences at least three of the following avoidance symptoms of PTSD:
- Making an effort to avoid thoughts, feelings, or conversations about the traumatic event.
- Making an effort to avoid places or people that remind you of the traumatic event.
- Having a difficult time remembering important parts of the traumatic event.
- A loss of interest in important, once positive, activities.
- Feeling distant from others.
- Experiencing difficulties having positive feelings, such as happiness or love.
- Feeling as though your life may be cut short.
The person experiences at least two of the following hyper-arousal symptoms of PTSD:
- Having a difficult time falling or staying asleep.
- Feeling more irritable or having outbursts of anger.
- Having difficulty concentrating.
- Feeling constantly “on guard” or like danger is lurking around every corner.
- Being “jumpy” or easily startled.
The symptoms described above must have lasted for more than a month. If the symptoms have lasted for less than a month, you may have another anxiety disorder called Acute Stress Disorder.
The symptoms described above have a great negative impact on your life, interfering with physical health, work or relationships.
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Dr. Stephanie Golder, MA, ThD, Stephen Minister, Hemispheric Life Coach
Mindy Fritz, MS, LCDC, BCN Associate Fellow