A PTSD diagnosis requires that a person must meet the specified criteria in the DSM-5. For example, he or she must have been exposed to a significant psychological trauma and suffer from some form of re-experiencing the trauma (e.g., nightmares, flashbacks, intrusive thoughts). However, not everyone who is exposed to a psychological trauma will meet the diagnostic criteria for PTSD. Some people may be diagnosed with other trauma-induced psychological disorders, such as Acute Stress Disorder, Adjustment Disorder with Anxiety, or Major Depressive Disorder. Some people may even cope effectively with the trauma on their own, warranting no diagnosis!
For those who do exhibit symptoms of PTSD, diagnosis can sometimes be difficult for various reasons. First, people suffering from posttraumatic stress do not need to exhibit all the PTSD symptoms to warrant a diagnosis. For example, although nightmares are a common symptom of PTSD, a diagnosis can be made even if they are absent. Secondly, people exposed to a psychological trauma often strive to avoid situations that arouse recollections of the trauma. One such situation could be meeting with a therapist. Third, it is not always easy to recognize PTSD symptoms from the conversational dialogue that occurs during a therapeutic session. It is important that you keep these challenges in mind, as you complete the Assignment this week.
Finally, there are rare but definite examples of persons who seem to develop what has come to be known as Posttraumatic Growth. This emerging area of research is important to understanding how to best support this outcome for survivors of future disaster, crises, and trauma.
To prepare for this Assignment:
- Review the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-5 retrieved from the Walden Library. Read pp. 280-286 and pp.271-280, and, if time allows, also review Chapter 7 in the course text,Crisis Intervention Strategies, and focus on the diagnostic categorization of PTSD. Also, pay particular attention to specific conditions and symptoms related to PTSD and consider the criteria that need to be met before rendering a PTSD diagnosis.
- Review the case study in the course media, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Think about the conditions and/or symptoms presented by the client, and compare them with the conditions and symptoms listed under each diagnostic category in Chapter 7 of the course text, Crisis Intervention Strategies, or theDSM-5.
- Identify whether or not the client in the case study is suffering from PTSD, based on the diagnostic criteria in the DSM-5 and Chapter 7 of the course text.
- Think about how you came to your conclusion and how you might justify it.