PTSD criteria. There is a hope!

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a specific form of disorder of the post-traumatic stress adaptation process. PTSD criteria are classified in the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10), a medical classification list by the World Health Organization (WHO). PTSD is related to a group of disorders associated with disadaptation and severe stress reaction.

The study of PTSD began with the clinical observations and analysis of the extreme factors effects on the human psyche. It was found that the effects of wars and disasters are not limited to visible aspects of victims’ life only, but also have hidden consequences, such as deep personal trauma, which may take a form of pathological syndrome called the post traumatic stress disorder.

Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) criteria

A. A person has experienced some traumatic event (must be at least two symptoms of the following):

  1. An individual was a participant in any form, orwitnessed, or was somehow involved in the events, which include death, death threat or threat of a serious damage for that individual or the others.
  2. In the traumatic situation, an individual experienced intense fear, helplessness or horror.

B. Traumatic events are constantly experienced in one (or more) of the following ways:

  1. Involuntary intrusive memories, which cause a severe emotional distress and compulsive hyperamnesia of the event and the associated feelings.
  2. Recurring nightmares and dreams of the event, causing intense negative emotions.
  3. Signs of the dissociative states – an individual may periodically perform some actions or are experiencing some feelings as if the traumatic event is happening again, for example:
  • Feeling of “vividness” of the past in the form of delusions and hallucinations;
  • The “flashback ” effect, which develops into a complete loss of a touch with reality and a feeling of a full “transference” into the traumatic situation.
  1. Dramatic intrusive memories which are the result of some specific situation, reminding of traumatic event.
  2. Involuntary increase of psychophysiological activity in situations which remind of the traumatic event (places, sounds, smells, etc.).

C. Constant isolation from any factors associated with the trauma:

  1. Avoiding any thoughts, feelings or conversations associated with the trauma.
  2. Avoiding activities, places or people that “rake over old ashes” of the trauma.
  3. The inability to recall some important aspects of the traumatic event.
  4. Low interest in life, loss of the interest in favourite occupations.
  5. Forms of “out-of-body” experience or isolation from other people.
  6. Reduced expression of the positive affect (“emotional numbness”).
  7. Lack of the future prospects.

D. Persistent symptoms of increased psychophysiological activity, which were not observed before the trauma.

  1. Difficulty of falling asleep or sleep disturbance associated with possible nightmares and /or increased anxiety which accompany obsessive thoughts and memories of the trauma.
  2. Increased and barely controlled irritability or bursts of anger.
  3. Difficulties in focusing.
  4. A state of constant expectation of something bad.
  5. Hyperreaction for startle and sudden stimulus.

E. The duration of course of the disorder – more than 1 month.

F. The disorder creates critical clinically significant emotional states or expressed defects in social, professional or other life spheres.

PTSD criteria allow to simplify and accelerate the diagnosis of the disease with maximum precision.