What is PTSD Criteria?
Have you been exposed to a severe trauma and feel that the aftershock is not subsiding, regardless of what you do or how long it has been? If so, you may be experiencing post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Symptoms often occur shortly after bearing witness to, or being a victim of, a traumatic event. This includes harmful accidents, abuse and violence and natural disasters.
There are two types of PTSD: acute and chronic. If your symptoms have lasted between one and three months, the disorder is considered acute. Alternatively, if symptoms persist for longer than three months, the disorder is classified as chronic, according to NCBI. Before you can be formally diagnosed, you must meet certain PTSD criteria.
Helpguide.org details some of the most common indicators of post-traumatic stress disorder that you may experience, some of which are used as clinical PTSD criteria:
- Reliving the traumatic event
- Nightmares regarding the trauma
- Avoiding reminders of the event (activities, places, thoughts, feelings)
- Emotional and physical anxiety when reminded of the trauma
- Emotional detachment
- Loss of pleasure
- Concentration difficulties
The first necessity for diagnosis of PTSD is exposure to a trauma in which you, a) experienced, witnessed or were presented with a situation that involved an actual threat to your safety, or the safety of others and b), felt fear, helplessness or terror. The second part of the criterion is intrusive recollection; meaning that you frequently re-experience the event. This must happen in at least one of four ways, including: recurrent, intrusive recollection of the situation in the form of images, thoughts and perceptions, frequent dreams of the trauma, feeling as though you are reliving the event, or responding physiologically when exposed to traumatic reminders (increased heart rate, etc.).
Avoidance and Hyperarousal
Next, in order to meet PTSD criteria, you must show signs of avoidance and hyperarousal. In regards to the former, you must experience “persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma and numbing of general responsiveness,” says MHAColorado.org. This encompasses: avoiding thoughts and feelings about the incident, avoiding places reminiscent of the event, difficulty recalling important details about it, loss of pleasure in daily life, detachment from others, limited emotional range, and trouble imagining the future. To be diagnosed, you must exhibit a minimum of three of these PTSD symptoms.
Hyper-arousal is the next factor taken into consideration. This denotes a state of constant stimulation, and you must show at least two of the following signs: insomnia, irritability, issues concentrating, hyper-vigilance, and sensitive startle reflexes.
Duration and Functional Significance
Lastly, before diagnosing you with post traumatic stress disorder, your doctor will need to determine how long your PTSD symptoms have persisted, as well as the degree of impact they have had on your daily functioning. The indicators mentioned throughout this article must last for at least one month. Also, the symptoms must cause a significant disturbance to your social, occupational, and emotional wellbeing.
PTSD is a debilitating anxiety disorder that occurs after exposure to traumatic events in which there was a real threat to your life, or the lives of those around you. In order for a clinician to determine if you have the disorder, you must experience specific PTSD symptoms used as assessment criterion. Intrusive recollection, avoidance, and hyperarousal are categories that contain certain feelings and behaviors used to detect the presence of PTSD. As well, symptom duration and effect on healthy daily functioning are observed.
To learn more about Los Angeles clinical trials for PTSD or other forms of medical issues, contact the Pacific Institute of Medical Research, which is an independent clinical research site specializing in psychiatry since 1982. Visit us online or call us at (310) 208-7144.