What is PTSD?
The person affected must have been exposed to a traumatic event, such as a car accident, which involved actual or threatened death or serious injury or a threat to the physical integrity of that person or another. Additionally the person's response at the time must have involved fear, helplessness or horror. Unless these gateway criteria are fulfilled a diagnosis of PTSD is not sustainable.
Apart from the gateway criteria, other symptoms have to be present:
The person re-experiences the event in one or more specified ways
- recurring, intrusive and distressing recollections or dreams of the event
- acting or feeling as if the original event was recurring
- intense psychological distress and
- psychological reactivity on exposure to cues/ reminders of the event (e.g. panic, anxiety)
- Efforts to avoid thoughts and/ or activities
- Inability to recall important aspects of the event
- Diminished interest
- Feelings of detachment
- Restricted range of affect (feelings) and/or a
- Sense of foreshortened future
- Sleep disturbance
- Irritability or anger
- Difficulty concentrating
- Exaggerated startle response
Persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the event and numbing of general responsiveness
Persistent symptoms of increased arousal. Two or more of the following symptoms should be present
The above three groups of symptoms must have lasted for a month or more and the disturbance has to cause clinically significant distress, impairing social, occupational or other important areas of functioning.