Clarifying PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder did not appear in any classification until 1980 where it was first classified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. From that day forward, the disorder has some that accept it as a disorder while others attack the diagnosis. If you pay much attention, PTSD is truly getting more attention such as in movies like the American Sniper as well as others that have hit the street and internet to bring awareness to the illness. Then there are others that use PTSD to promote their own cause just to draw attention to themselves or their cause that has truly nothing to do with the diagnostic criteria for suffering from PTSD.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in the most recent edition, the diagnostic criteria include twenty possible symptoms that are divided between four clusters.

Re-experiencing Cluster: (5 symptoms)

  • Disturbing memories

  • Nightmares

  • Memories trigger psychological pain

  • Memories trigger physiological pain

Evasive Cluster: (2 symptoms)

  • Avoiding internal memories

  • Avoiding external memories

Distorted Perceptions and Moods Cluster: (7 symptoms)

  • Separated from memories known as dissociative amnesia

  • Pessimistic thoughts regarding the world and themselves

  • Blaming themselves unwarranted

  • Pessimistic emotional state constantly

  • No interest in normal activities (self-care, etc...)

  • Disinterest in loved ones

  • Restricted range of involvement

Increased Stimulation Cluster: (6 symptoms)

  • Always on-guard or tense

  • Exaggerated surprise response

  • Problems concentrating

  • Problems sleeping

  • Irritability

  • Outbursts of annoyance or anger

  • Reckless behavior or self-destructive


In order to be diagnosed with PTSD, a person must experience one of the symptoms in re-experiencing, 1 in evasive, 2 in distorted perceptions, and 2 in stimulation. One person may only have 6 symptoms while another may have all 20. It is very important if a person is showing any of the above symptoms or is experiencing any of the signs it is imperative to contact a professional.

  • PTSD left untreated can cause all kinds of other mental issues including:

  • Being isolated

  • Lack of having the ability to sustain healthy relationships

  • Divorce

  • Substance abuse

  • Eating disorders

  • Constant pain

  • Thoughts of suicide

Other Disorders that are often Co-Occurring with PTSD

Around 80% of all individuals suffering from PTSD also have a diagnosis of another mental disorder with the most common being:

  • Substance abuse

  • Depression

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder

  • Social anxiety disorder

  • Phobias

  • Panic disorder

  • Harming oneself

Help is Available

No matter where you live, you should contact a professional at once if you or a loved one are experiencing any of these feelings or thoughts. In Centerton, AR and the surrounding area, there are professionals ready to help. Through the proper channels and therapies, individuals with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can lead a normal life. However, left untreated, PTSD can and will lead to other mental illnesses and possibly suicide. Contact a counselor that has experience working with individuals with PTSD so you can enjoy life or to help a loved one realize just how much they are appreciated and loved.