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Posttraumatic stress disorder refers to a mental health condition that affects individuals of all ages, including children. Symptoms of PTSD may occur immediately after a traumatic event or after six months. The DSM-IV-TR Criteria is one of the diagnostic indicators set up by the American Psychiatric Association to diagnose PTSD.
• One of the indicators for PTSD is experiencing, witnessing, or being confronted or experiencing life-threatening events, serious injury, or threats to physical injury. The response is intense fear, horror, or helplessness. Among children, PTSD may be manifested through disorganization and agitated behavior (Tull, 2019).
• The second indicator is re-experiencing the traumatic event through intrusive and distressing recollection. Among children, this may be experienced through the repetitive play of the traumatic event or frightening dreams.
• Avoidance stimuli characterized by avoiding thoughts, feelings, places or people that could arise trauma recollections, children may manifest through detachment.
• Increased arousal characterized by difficulties in concentrating, irritability, exaggerated startle response and hypervigilance may also indicate Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Among children, it may be manifested through problems in concentrating.
• When the disturbance resulting from criteria BCD exceeds one month, then this becomes a sign of PTSD (SAMHSA, 2016).
I have known a close relative who has experienced PTSD, having served in the military and underwent a deployment. He has difficulty sleeping; he prefers being alone since he says he feels irritable most of the time and is also hyper-vigilant. Similarly, he avoids meeting colleagues that he was deployed with, arguing that they reminded him of the war experiences. Moreover, he avoids talking about his experiences during deployment.
SAMHSA. (2016). Table 8, DSM-IV to DSM-5 Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Comparison Children 6 Years and Younger – DSM-5 Changes – NCBI Bookshelf. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Retrieved 20 January 2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK519712/table/ch3.t4/.
Tull, M. (2019). The Criteria for Diagnosing PTSD in DSM-5. Verywell Mind. Retrieved 20 January 2021, from https://www.verywellmind.com/ptsd-in-the-dsm-5-2797324.
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