Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Last updated 20.09.12



-  Anxiety disorder characterised by re-experiencing an extremely traumatic event accompanied by symptoms of increased arousal & avoidance

-  Incident

- War

- Rape

- Torture

- Abuse


- Natural disaster

- Bite


-  Women > men

-  Lifetime prevalence 8%

-  50% recover 1 year, 30% chronic

-  Typically ass w war veterans BUT many women/children suffer PTSD from abuse


DSM IV Definition

-  A person experiencing, witness to or confronted w and event that involved actual or threatened death, serious injury or threat to the physical integrity of self or others w a response of intense fear, helplessness or horror

-  Persistently re-experienced through

- Recurrent intrusive distressing receollections: images, thoughts, perceptions

- Recerrent distressing dreams

- Acting or feeling as if the trauma is recurring

- Intense psychological distress when exposed to cues that resemble trauma

-  Persistant avoidance of stimuli related to trauma

- Avoiding thoughts, feelings, conversations, activities, places or people

- Inability to recall important aspects

- Decreased interest in activities

- Feelings of estrangement

- Restricted affect

- No hope for career, marriage, children or normal life span

-  Persistent increased arousal: difficulty falling or staying asleep, irritability, outbursts of anger, difficulty concentrating, hypervigilance, exaggerated startle response


Associated S/S

- Intense stress from triggers

-  Sweating

-  Palpitations

-  Muscle tension




-  Treatment of choice (> medication)

- Antidepressants

-  SSRI for depression & anxiety: Fluoxetine, Fluvoxamine, Sertraline