Complex post traumatic stress disorder (complex ptsd, pdsd, shell shock, nervous shock, combat fatigue), symptoms and the difference between mental illness and psychiatric injury explained
In the previous version of DSM (DSM-III) a criterion of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was for the sufferer to have faced a single major life-threatening event; this criterion was present because a) it was thought that PTSD could not be a result of "normal" events such as bereavement, business failure, interpersonal conflict, bullying, harassment, stalking, marital disharmony, working for the emergency services, etc, and b) most of the research on PTSD had been undertaken with people who had suffered a threat to life (eg combat veterans, especially from Vietnam, victims of accident, disaster, and acts of violence)
A. The person experiences a traumatic event in which both of the following were present:
1. the person experienced or 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.
B. The traumatic event is persistently re-experienced in any of the following ways:
1. recurrent and intrusive distressing recollections of the event, including images, thoughts or perceptions;
2. recurrent distressing dreams of the event;
3. acting or feeling as if the traumatic event were recurring (eg reliving the experience, illusions, hallucinations, and dissociative flashback episodes, including those on wakening or when intoxicated);
4. intense psychological distress at exposure to internal or external cues that symbolise or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event;
5. physiological reactivity on exposure to internal or external cues that symbolise 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 at least three of:
1. efforts to avoid thoughts, feelings or conversations associated with the trauma;
2. efforts to avoid activities, places or people that arouse recollections of this 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 (eg unable to have loving feelings);
7. sense of a foreshortened future (eg does not expect to have a career, marriage, children or a normal life span).
D. Persistent symptoms of increased arousal (not present before the trauma) as indicated by at least two of the following:
1. difficulty falling or staying asleep;
2. irritability or outbursts of anger;
3. difficulty concentrating;
5. exaggerated startle response.
E. The symptoms on Criteria B, C and D last for more than one month.
F. The disturbance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning.
Elyssa D. Durant © DailyDDoSe™ 2007-2008