Researchers examine new PTSD diagnosis criteria

September 5, 2012

Results of a study led by researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and the Veterans Affairs (VA) Boston Healthcare System indicate that the proposed changes to the diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) will not substantially affect the number of people who meet criteria for the disorder.

Mark W. Miller, PhD, associate professor at BUSM and a clinical research psychologist at the National Center for PTSD at VA Boston Healthcare System served as lead author of the study, which is published online in : Theory, Research, Practice and Policy.

The (DSM), the handbook that defines psychiatric disorders, has been undergoing revisions for the past decade in advance of the publication of its fifth edition (DSM-5). Included in the proposed revisions are the first major changes to the PTSD diagnosis since its initial appearance in DSM-III back in 1980. These include the addition of new symptoms, revision of existing ones and a new set of diagnostic criteria.

According to DSM-IV, the criteria for a diagnosis of PTSD include exposure to a traumatic event, persistent re-experiencing of the traumatic event, avoidance and emotional numbing, and persistent hyperarousal and hypervigilance. The proposed revisions for DSM-5 involve clarification regarding what constitutes a traumatic event, the addition symptoms such as self-destructive behavior and distorted blaming of oneself or others for the traumatic event and a reorganization of the diagnostic decision rules for establishing a of PTSD.

Critics have raised concerns about the revision process, noting that some of the new symptoms are not unique to PTSD. They believe that the proposed changes could lead to a number of misdiagnoses, which could artificially increase the number of patients with the disorder.

To address this and to collect data to inform final decisions about the PTSD revision, research was initiated by the DSM-5 PTSD workgroup to see if these changes would affect the number of people diagnosed with PTSD. The researchers surveyed a nationally representative sample of 2,953 American adults and a second sample of 345 U.S. military veterans. They found that most of the proposed symptom changes were supported by statistical analysis and did not substantially affect the number of people who would meet criteria for the disorder. Based in part on these findings, the workgroup responsible for the PTSD revisions are now moving forward with the proposed revisions for DSM-5.

Explore further: Scientists discover dissociative subtype of post-traumatic stress disorder

Related Stories

Scientists discover dissociative subtype of post-traumatic stress disorder

July 2, 2012
A recent study by Erika J. Wolf, PhD, and Principal Investigator Mark W. Miller, PhD, both from the National Center for PTSD at the VA Boston Healthcare System and Department of Psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine ...

Chronic post-traumatic stress disorder in women linked to history of rape, child abuse

November 29, 2011
A Florida State University clinical psychologist has identified factors that could cause some women with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to have chronic, persistent symptoms while others recover naturally over time.

DSM-5 proposed criteria for autism spectrum disorder diagnosis

January 23, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has proposed new diagnostic criteria for the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) for autism. While final decisions ...

Scientists identify new gene linked to PTSD

August 7, 2012
Investigators at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and Veterans Affairs (VA) Boston Healthcare System have identified a new gene linked to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The findings, published online in ...

Recommended for you

Probing how Americans think about mental life

October 20, 2017
When Stanford researchers asked people to think about the sensations and emotions of inanimate or non-human entities, they got a glimpse into how those people think about mental life.

Itsy bitsy spider: Fear of spiders and snakes is deeply embedded in us

October 19, 2017
Snakes and spiders evoke fear and disgust in many people, even in developed countries where hardly anybody comes into contact with them. Until now, there has been debate about whether this aversion is innate or learnt. Scientists ...

Inflamed support cells appear to contribute to some kinds of autism

October 18, 2017
Modeling the interplay between neurons and astrocytes derived from children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, with colleagues in Brazil, say innate ...

Study suggests psychedelic drugs could reduce criminal behavior

October 18, 2017
Classic psychedelics such as psilocybin (often called magic mushrooms), LSD and mescaline (found in peyote) are associated with a decreased likelihood of antisocial criminal behavior, according to new research from investigators ...

Taking probiotics may reduce postnatal depression

October 18, 2017
Researchers from the University of Auckland and Otago have found evidence that a probiotic given in pregnancy can help prevent or treat symptoms of postnatal depression and anxiety.

Schizophrenia disrupts the brain's entire communication system, researchers say

October 17, 2017
Some 40 years since CT scans first revealed abnormalities in the brains of schizophrenia patients, international scientists say the disorder is a systemic disruption to the brain's entire communication system.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.