PTSD symptoms are usually more severe or long lasting when the stressor is caused by a human(s) (e.g., torture, rape etc.). The likelihood of developing PTSD usually increases as the intensity & physical proximity to the stressor increase.
- A. The person has been exposed to a traumatic event in which both of the following were present:
(1) The person experienced, 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.
Note: In children, this may be expressed instead by disorganized or agitated behavior
- B. The traumatic event is persistently re-experienced in one (or more) of the following ways:
(1) Recurrent and intrusive distressing recollections of the event, including images, thoughts, or perceptions. Note: In young children, repetitive play may occur in which themes or aspects of the trauma are expressed.
(2) Recurrent distressing dreams of the event. Note: In children, there may be frightening dreams without recognizable content.
(3) Acting or feeling as if the traumatic event were recurring (includes a sense of reliving the experience, illusions, hallucinations, and dissociative flashback episodes, including those that occur on awakening or when intoxicated). Note: In young children, trauma-specific reenactment may occur.
(4) Intense psychological distress at exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event
(5) Physiological reactivity on exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize 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 three (or more) of the following:
(1) Efforts to avoid thoughts, feelings, or conversations associated with the trauma
(2) Efforts to avoid activities, places, or people that arouse recollections of the 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 (e.g., unable to have loving feelings)
(7) Sense of a foreshortened future (e.g., 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 two (or more) of the following:
(1) Difficulty falling or staying asleep
(2) Irritability or outbursts of anger
(3) Difficulty concentrating
(5) Exaggerated startle response
- E. Duration of the disturbance (symptoms in Criteria B, C, and D) is more than 1 month.
- F. The disturbance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
- Directly experienced traumatic events include:
- military combat
- violent personal assault such as:
- being kidnapped
- being taken hostage
- terrorist attack
- incarceration as a prisoner of war or in a concentration camp
- natural/manmade disasters
- severe automobile accidents
- being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness other causes
war and disaster
unexpectedly witnessing a dead body or body parts
other traumatic witnessed events
Events experienced by others & learned about include: violent personal assault
serious injury experienced by a family member/close friend
learning about the sudden death of a family member/close friend
learning one’s child has a life-threatening disease
other learned traumatic events
Just because someone experiences a traumatic event does not mean they have PTSD. No matter how long it’s been since your trauma, treatment can help. To know whether you have PTSD, you should get an assessment from a clinician. Sexual assault is more likely to result in symptoms of PTSD than are other types of trauma, including combat. Social support is one of the greatest protective factors against developing PTSD after trauma. Research suggests that social support is an even more important resilience factor for women than men.
Trouble sleeping is a core feature of PTSD, so it is important to address sleep problems in PTSD treatment. Getting help for PTSD early can prevent problems from expanding to other parts of your life. Evidence-based treatments for PTSD include psychotherapy (or “counseling”) and medications. Many people with PTSD also experience chronic pain or other physical health symptoms. PTSD often co-occurs with depression or other mental health symptoms. VA Can Help with the Answers to These Questions Having PTSD does not mean you’re “crazy.” PTSD does not cause someone to be violent. If you have PTSD, you are not alone. With treatment, you can get better.
In the general population, women are twice as likely as men to experience PTSD at some point in their lifetime. Recent research shows that men and women who served in Iraq (OIF) or Afghanistan (OEF) have similar rates of PTSD. Many people recover completely from PTSD with treatment. If someone in your family has PTSD, family therapy can help you learn to communicate and cope together. People who have PTSD also have a higher risk for substance use disorders. PTSD treatment has been shown to decrease suicidal ideation. Treatment is important for the person experiencing PTSD, but it also helps the family and improves relationships. PTSD therapists help you understand your thoughts and feelings so you have more control over them. Research suggests that variations in a number of genes may be risk factors for developing PTSD after trauma.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) and PTSD have some common symptoms, but they are different diagnoses. Technology, like the PTSD Coach mobile app, can help you manage PTSD symptoms. VA provides PTSD care at every VA medical center and at many of the larger community-based clinics. Getting help for PTSD is problem solving, not a sign of weakness.
Take the step. - See more at: http://www.va.gov/health/NewsFeatures/2013/June/27-Things-You-Should-Know-about-PTSD.asp#sthash.0lFWM56D.dpuf