The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) provides criteria for the diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). There are several indicators necessary for a diagnosis of PTSD, with at least five conditions or symptoms needed. Two characteristics will be provided for each category, and specific symptoms in children will also be discussed.
The first indicator of PTSD is the presence of feelings of intense fear, helplessness, and horror. This is commonly observed in children who have experienced or witnessed situations that threatened their lives, such as accidents, animal bites, natural disasters, or invasive medical procedures (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2016).
The second indicator is persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the traumatic event. This may include avoiding conversations or thoughts related to the trauma.
The third indicator is recurrent intrusive and distressing recollections about the traumatic event. In children, this may manifest as frightening dreams.
The fourth indicator is increased arousal, which may include hypervigilance, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and difficulty falling asleep. These symptoms were present before the traumatic event.
Finally, the duration of the disturbance must exceed one month for all of the aforementioned criteria to be interpreted as PTSD (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2016).
Now, let’s discuss a case of someone who suffers from PTSD. I am aware of a young teenager who has been diagnosed with PTSD. This teenager has a history of neglect since childhood. As a result, the teenager exhibits symptoms of hyperactivity, behavioral dyscontrol, attachment issues, and inattention. Additionally, the teenager has difficulty forming strong emotional relationships with others due to a fear of abandonment.
In conclusion, the DSM-IV-TR provides criteria for the diagnosis of PTSD. Some of the indicators necessary for a diagnosis of PTSD include intense fear, helplessness, and horror; persistent avoidance of trauma-related stimuli; recurrent distressing recollections about the traumatic event; increased arousal; and a duration of disturbance exceeding one month. It is important to note that these criteria can manifest differently in children. The case of the young teenager with a history of neglect demonstrates how PTSD symptoms can appear as hyperactivity, behavioral dyscontrol, attachment issues, and difficulties forming strong emotional relationships.