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Life We Bury, The

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

National Center for PTSD Public Section Link
Click the image above for the public section of the National Center for PTSD

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Definition

posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

in DSM–IV–TR, a disorder that may result when an individual lives through or witnesses an event in which he or she believes that there is a threat to life or physical integrity and safety and experiences fear, terror, or helplessness. The symptoms are characterized by (a) reexperiencing the trauma in painful recollections, flashbacks, or recurrent dreams or nightmares; (b) avoidance of activities or places that recall the traumatic event, as well as diminished responsiveness (emotional anesthesia or numbing), with disinterest in significant activities and with feelings of detachment and estrangement from others; and (c) chronic physiological arousal, leading to such symptoms as an exaggerated startle response, disturbed sleep, difficulty in concentrating or remembering, and guilt about surviving the trauma when others did not (see survivor guilt). Subtypes are chronic posttraumatic stress disorder and delayed posttraumatic stress disorder. When the symptoms do not last longer than 4 weeks, a diagnosis of acute stress disorder is given instead. Changes in PTSD criteria from DSM–IV–TR to DSM–5 include the following: Exposure to the traumatic event may be secondhand if the event happens to a loved one or if there is repeated exposure to aversive details (e.g., as with first responders cleaning up after a disaster); the subjective criterion requiring that the person feel fear, terror, or helplessness has been eliminated; symptom clusters have been recategorized, with additional symptoms; and separate criteria have been developed for children age 6 years or younger.
-from the American Psychological Association's Dictionary of Psychology

PTSD Articles

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Databases

Use these databases to find information on PTSD:

PTSD Books




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