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Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Criteria for PTSD..

"The relevancy of an individual's subjective experience in determining what constitutes a traumatic event has been a source of debate among PTSD specialists for years. The study concludes that both objective and subjective factors are relevant and that current PTSD criteria are missing several reactions that many trauma survivors experience."

"A person's response is multifaceted and may include appraisals and other thoughts, a variety of felt emotions and behaviors. It's not enough to rely on the objective qualities of an experience to determine whether it should be considered traumatic or not," said co-author Brian P. Marx, PhD, an associate professor of psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine and psychologist at the VA National Center for PTSD.

"Trauma should be defined as the interaction between the individual and his or her environment and all parts of an individual's response should be considered."

PTSD is believed to be the result of exposure to trauma, so understanding what defines a traumatic experience is critical. The authors suggest that researchers investigate and add more appropriate examples to these criteria in order to more accurately categorize traumatic events.

"Knowing exactly what trauma is can help us to better know who is a trauma survivor and who is not," said Marx. "It is critical that we know this for the purposes of understanding the disorder as well as being better able to help those who are survivors of trauma."

It seems to me that the main problem with PTSD, as stated above, is that there is no concrete way of defining an event or experience as 'traumatic.' Indeed, although there may be events that we generally consider 'traumatic,' for example a bad car accident, it doesn't mean that any one individual suffering an event will become traumatised, or indeed, suffer from PTSD.

So if it's not an objective event that generates the trauma, then it is the perception or the thought process within a person that makes the event traumatic. So, logically, if this though process is generated through any event, even one that isn't considered traumatic - for example, realising you hadn't turned the plug on, symptoms and problems assocaited with PTSD could still manifest, and would it really be fair to claim that this individual wasn't suffering with PTSD just because we don't consider the event 'traumatic?'

Okay, maybe that example was a little far-fetched, but it makes you think, who am I to judge whether an event should or should not make you feel traumatised?

Original Article

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