When someone is exhibiting signs of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, it does not necessarily follow that the person is actually suffering from PTSD. Oftentimes, a person will experience some level of stress, may get depressed and may feel a bit of anxiety after witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event.
However, even if these are symptoms of PTSD, it is important to get a proper diagnosis before coming-up with a concrete conclusion. In view of this, a set of criteria was put together by professionals specializing in mental health to help determine if a patient is actually suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or not.
These criteria, included in Diagnostic and Statistical manual of Mental Disorders, wish to clarify which specific symptoms are indicative of PTSD. There are six categories or bases for these criteria, enumerated from A to F.
It is important to carefully review each of these categories and take note of the specifics of each one in order to generally determine if you are suffering from PTSD.
If your answers to the questions included in each category indicate a higher possibility of having PTSD, professional diagnosis should be sought.
Briefly, these criteria are:
A. You should have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event where there was danger of death or serious injury. Your response to the situation was extreme fear, defenselessness and shock.
B. Persistent memory of the incident, nightmares about the incident or associated to the incident and feeling of having the event happen all over again. You may also experience extreme anxiety when memory about the event is triggered and showing physical signs of anxiety such as nervousness and excessive sweating.
C. You do everything you can to avoid reminders of the traumatic incident and you push away thoughts and feelings that you associate with said incident. You may also experience loss of memory with regards to certain parts of the incident and your general loss of interest in life.
D. You have difficulty sleeping, you have angry outbursts, you cannot concentrate on anything, you are always alert and you get startled without provocation.
E. Your symptoms have been ongoing for more than a month.
F. Your symptoms have caused your quality of life deteriorate, affecting your social, personal and professional functions.
Please note that you should have several of these symptoms and have been experiencing them for more than a month or longer. If you experienced these symptoms for a period lower than one month, you may have another type of stress disorder.
Following your personal assessment of the situation, you should follow this up with consultation with your therapist or trusted doctor to get the right prognosis.