Diagnostic Criteria for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

The person has experienced, or witnessed, or was confronted with an unusually traumatic event or events that involved a threat of death or serious injury, and the person felt intense fear or helplessness. Examples are found in veterans returning from war; people who have experienced a near-fatal accident or one that involved a fatality; childhood abuse; sexual assault and domestic violence either experienced or witnessed as a child.

The person relives the event or has a numbing of general responsiveness as indicated below:

  1.         Intrusive, distressing thoughts or images.
  2.         Repeated, distressing dreams.
  3.         Flashbacks or hallucinations.
  4.         Marked mental distress in reaction to internal or external cues that resemble the event.
  5.         Physiological reactions such as elevated blood pressure to the cues.
  6.         Avoidance of activities or events that recall the event.
  7.         Inability to recall certain aspects of the event.
  8.         Feeling detached or isolated from other people.
  9.         Excessive vigilance.
  10.         Poor concentration.
  11.         Experiences restriction in ability to love or feel other strong emotions.
  12.         Increased startle response.
  13.         Angry outbursts or irritability.
  14.         Insomnia, either partial or interval.
  15.         Marked loss of interest or participation in activities important to the person.
  16.         The symptoms have lasted longer than one month from the event and cause significant distress or impair work, social, or personal functioning.

EMDR is the most powerful and well-researched tool for working with PTSD. Other methods that have been of benefit include Guided Visualization, Thought Field Therapy, Hypnosis, Yoga, Tai Chi, and Emotional Freedom Therapy.