This Week In The Bmj

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a valid and useful diagnosis

BMJ 2001; 323 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.323.7312.0/c (Published 08 September 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:c

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a valid and useful diagnosis but it is not the only psychiatric response to trauma. The disorder is associated with high rates of psychiatric comorbidity and impaired social and occupational functioning and has a prevalence of 1%-7.8% in the general population. Mezey and Robbins (p 561) argue that the diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder is important for both patients and doctors and that it can be differentiated from other psychiatric diagnoses by biochemical, neuroanatomical, and phenomenological characteristics. Any concerns about the diagnosis in victims of chronic and lifelong trauma could be resolved by further refining the diagnostic criteria.


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(Credit: SUE SHARPLES)

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