A multitude of PTSDs

This article on Mind Hacks speaks to the notion that having 636,120 ways to manifest PTSD is a problem. I’d argue it’s not a large enough number. There are as many ways to manifest trauma as there are human beings. And this is exactly why diagnosis can never be precise and why labeling narrowly is always an assault on individuality. Healing too, requires a unique path for everyone.

Mind Hacks

A new paper in Perspectives in Psychological Science looked at all the possible combinations of symptoms that could achieve a DSM-5 diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder and found there are now 636,120 ways to have PTSD.

This shows one of the many drawbacks of having a ‘check-list’ approach to classifying mental disorder.

636,120 Ways to Have Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Perspectives in Psychological Science
November 2013 vol. 8 no. 6 651-662

Isaac R. Galatzer-Levy
Richard A. Bryant

In an attempt to capture the variety of symptoms that emerge following traumatic stress, the revision of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) criteria in the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5) has expanded to include additional symptom presentations. One consequence of this expansion is that it increases the amorphous nature of the classification. Using a binomial equation to elucidate possible symptom combinations, we demonstrate that the DSM–IV criteria listed…

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