TABLE 1.Proposed DSM-IV Criteria for PTSD

A.††††††††††† The person has been exposed to a traumatic event in which both of the following have been present:

(1)†††††††††† the person has experienced, witnessed, or been confronted with an event or events that involve actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of oneself or others

(2)†††††††††† the personís response involved intense fear, helplessness, or horror. Note: in children, it may be expressed instead by disorganized or agitated behavior

B.††††††††††† The traumatic event is persistently re-experienced in at least one of the following ways:

(1)†††††††††† recurrent and intrusive distressing recollections of the event, including images, thoughts, or perceptions. Note: in young children, repetitive play may occur in which themes or aspects of the trauma are expressed

(2)†††††††††† recurrent distressing dreams of the event. Note: in children, there may be frightening dreams without recognizable content

(3)†††††††††† acting or feeling as if the traumatic event were recurring (includes a sense of reliving the experience, illusions, hallucinations, and dissociative flashback episodes, including those that occur upon awakening or when intoxicated). Note: in young children, trauma-specific reenactment may occur

(4)†††††††††† intense psychological distress at exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event

(5)†††††††††† physiologic reactivity upon exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event

C.††††††††††† Persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma and numbing of general responsiveness (not present before the trauma), as indicated by at least three of the following:

(1)†††††††††† efforts to avoid thoughts, feelings, or conversations associated with the trauma

(2)†††††††††† efforts to avoid activities, places, or people that arouse recollections of the trauma

(3)†††††††††† inability to recall an important aspect of the trauma

(4)†††††††††† markedly diminished interest or participation in significant activities

(5)†††††††††† feeling of detachment or estrangement from others

(6)†††††††††† restricted range of affect (e.g., unable to have loving feelings)

(7)†††††††††† sense of a foreshortened future (e.g., does not expect to have a career, marriage, children, or a normal life span)

D.††††††††††† Persistent symptoms of increased arousal (not present before the trauma), as indicated by at least two of the following:

(1)†††††††††† difficulty falling or staying asleep

(2)†††††††††† irritability or outbursts of anger

(3)†††††††††† difficulty concentrating

(4)†††††††††† hypervigilance

(5)†††††††††† exaggerated startle response

E.†††††††††††† Duration of the disturbance (symptoms in B, C, and D) is more than one month.

F.†††††††††††† The disturbance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

Specify if:

Acute: if duration of symptoms is less than three months

Chronic: if duration of symptoms is three months or more


Specify if:

With Delayed Onset: onset of symptoms at least six months after the stressor


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published 2000