In 2013 the American Psychiatric Association (APA) released The fifth edition of the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual (DSM-V), which classifies a broad range of emotional states as disorders. The criteria for a diagnosis of PTSD are given below for information only and are NOT intended for self-diagnosis. All of the criteria are required for the diagnosis of PTSD by a medical professional:
Criterion A: stressor (one required)
The person was exposed to: death, threatened death, actual or threatened serious injury, or actual or threatened sexual violence, in the following way(s):
- Direct exposure
- Witnessing the trauma
- Learning that a relative or close friend was exposed to a trauma
- Indirect exposure to aversive details of the trauma, usually in the course of professional duties (e.g., first responders, medics)
Criterion B: intrusion symptoms (one required)
The traumatic event is persistently re-experienced in the following way(s):
- Unwanted upsetting memories
- Emotional distress after exposure to traumatic reminders
- Physical reactivity after exposure to traumatic reminders
Criterion C: avoidance (one required)
Avoidance of trauma-related stimuli after the trauma, in the following way(s):
- Trauma-related thoughts or feelings
- Trauma-related external reminders
Criterion D: negative alterations in cognitions and mood (two required)
Negative thoughts or feelings that began or worsened after the trauma, in the following way(s):
- Inability to recall key features of the trauma
- Overly negative thoughts and assumptions about oneself or the world
- Exaggerated blame of self or others for causing the trauma
- Negative affect
- Decreased interest in activities
- Feeling isolated
- Difficulty experiencing positive affect
Criterion E: alterations in arousal and reactivity
Trauma-related arousal and reactivity that began or worsened after the trauma, in the following way(s):
- Irritability or aggression
- Risky or destructive behavior
- Heightened startle reaction
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty sleeping
Criterion F: duration (required)
Symptoms last for more than 1 month.
Criterion G: functional significance (required)
Symptoms create distress or functional impairment (e.g., social, occupational).
Criterion H: exclusion (required)
Symptoms are not due to medication, substance use, or other illness.
- Dissociative Specification In addition to meeting criteria for diagnosis, an individual experiences high levels of either of the following in reaction to trauma-related stimuli:
- Depersonalization. Experience of being an outside observer of or detached from oneself (e.g., feeling as if "this is not happening to me" or one were in a dream).
- Derealization. Experience of unreality, distance, or distortion (e.g., "things are not real").
- Delayed Specification. Full diagnostic criteria are not met until at least six months after the trauma(s), although onset of symptoms may occur immediately.