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Post Traumatic Stress
Post Traumatic Stress
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Post Traumatic Stress

What is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur after someone goes through a traumatic event like combat, assault, or disaster. Most people have some stress reactions after a trauma. If the reactions don’t go away over time or disrupt your life, you may have PTSD. It can be the result of serious single traumatic event or the cumilitive effects of prolonged exposure to traumatic events.

Trauma is a natural emotional reaction to terrible experiences that involve actual or threatened serious harm to oneself or others. However, for some people, the thoughts or memories of these events seriously affect their lives, long after any real danger has passed. This is classified as post-traumatic stress disorder, a serious anxiety disorder.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a condition in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition (DSM-5) category of Trauma- and Stressor-Related Disorders.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is characterized by the onset of psychiatric symptoms after exposure to one or more traumatic events.

http://www.camh.ca/en/education/about/camh_publications/Documents/Flat_PDFs/Posttraumatic_stress.pdf

What is PTSD? (animated whiteboard video)

http://www.audio.va.gov/ptsd/whiteboards/what_is_ptsd.mp4

Symptoms of PTSD

It is normal to have stress reactions after a traumatic event. Your emotions and behavior can change in ways that are upsetting to you.

Post Ttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a condition in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition (DSM-5) category of Trauma- and Stressor-Related Disorders.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is characterized by the onset of psychiatric symptoms after exposure to one or more traumatic events.

The characteristic symptoms of PTSD develop in four domains:

  • intrusion
  • avoidance
  • alterations in cognition and mood
  • alterations in arousal and reactivity.

Even though most people have stress reactions following a trauma, they get better in time. But, you should seek help if symptoms:

  •      Last longer than three months
  •       Cause you great distress
  •       Disrupt your work or home life

What should I do if I have symptoms of PTSD?

PTSD symptoms usually start soon after the traumatic event. But for some people, they may not happen until months or years after the trauma. Symptoms may come and go over many years. So, you should keep track of your symptoms and talk to someone you trust about them.

If you have symptoms that last longer than four weeks, cause you great distress, or disrupt your work or home life, you may be suffering from acute stress that has developed into PTSD.  If you are seeking answers you should seek professional help from a doctor or counsellor. Please check out the list of therapists and crisis resources on the Badge of Life Canada website listed by Province and Territory.

DSM-5 Criteria for PTSD

Full copyrighted criteria are available from the American Psychiatric Association (1). All of the criteria are required for the diagnosis of PTSD. The following text summarizes the diagnostic criteria:

Criterion A (one required): The person was exposed to: death, threatened death, actual or threatened serious injury, or actual or threatened sexual violence, in the following way(s):

  • Direct exposure
  • Witnessing the trauma
  • Learning that a relative or close friend was exposed to a trauma
  • Indirect exposure to aversive details of the trauma, usually in the course of professional duties (e.g., first responders, medics)

Criterion B (one required): The traumatic event is persistently re-experienced, in the following way(s):

  • Unwanted upsetting memories
  • Nightmares
  • Flashbacks
  • Emotional distress after exposure to traumatic reminders
  • Physical reactivity after exposure to traumatic reminders

Criterion C (one required): Avoidance of trauma-related stimuli after the trauma, in the following way(s):

  • Trauma-related thoughts or feelings
  • Trauma-related reminders

Criterion D (two required): Negative thoughts or feelings that began or worsened after the trauma, in the following way(s):

  • Inability to recall key features of the trauma
  • Overly negative thoughts and assumptions about oneself or the world
  • Exaggerated blame of self or others for causing the trauma
  • Negative affect
  • Decreased interest in activities
  • Feeling isolated
  • Difficulty experiencing positive affect

Criterion E (two required): Trauma-related arousal and reactivity that began or worsened after the trauma, in the following way(s):

  • Irritability or aggression
  • Risky or destructive behavior
  • Hypervigilance
  • Heightened startle reaction
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty sleeping

Criterion F (required): Symptoms last for more than 1 month.

Criterion G (required): Symptoms create distress or functional impairment (e.g., social, occupational).

Criterion H (required): Symptoms are not due to medication, substance use, or other illness.

Two specifications:

  • Dissociative Specification.In addition to meeting criteria for diagnosis, an individual experiences high levels of either of the following in reaction to trauma-related stimuli:
    • Depersonalization. Experience of being an outside observer of or detached from oneself (e.g., feeling as if “this is not happening to me” or one were in a dream).
    • Derealization. Experience of unreality, distance, or distortion (e.g., “things are not real”).
  • Delayed Specification.Full diagnostic criteria are not met until at least six months after the trauma(s), although onset of symptoms may occur immediately.

Note: DSM-5 introduced a preschool subtype of PTSD for children ages six years and younger.

 

References

  1. American Psychiatric Association. (2013) Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.
  2. Friedman, M. J., Resick, P. A., Bryant, R. A., & Brewin, C. R. (2011). Considering PTSD for DSM-5. Depression & Anxiety, 28,750-769. doi:10.1002/da.20767
  3. Kilpatrick, D. G., Resnick, H. S., Milanak, M. E., Miller, M. W., Keyes, K. M., & Friedman, M. J. (2013). National estimates of exposure to traumatic events and PTSD prevalence using DSM-IVand DSM-5criteria. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 26,537-547. doi:10.1002/jts.21848

 

 

Disclaimer: The above listed criteria is not meant to be “all encompassing” nor used as a “check-list” for a member or family member to make a “self-diagnosis” regarding their mental wellness. If  feel that you are suffering please see a medical professional for a proper diagnosis to begin the process of submitting a claim to the workplace insurance board within your Province or Territory. Early diagnosis and  can lead to effective results for many members so that they do not have to suffer in silence.

 

Adapted from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: An Information Guide © 2009 Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

Adapted from Mental Health Commission of Canada

Adapted from Moods Disorder Society of Canada

Adapted from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs