This entry briefly examines the history of the diagnosis of PTSD, the current symptoms that characterize this syndrome, risk factors for PTSD, and evidence about the prevalence of this disorder in relation to specific traumas. It also summarizes the debate about the expression of PTSD in children and other special populations and discusses the ongoing controversies surrounding this diagnosis. A special effort is made to include mention of forensic issues relevant to the diagnosis of PTSD.

History of the PTSD Diagnosis

PTSD was officially introduced into the mental health nomenclature in 1980 with the publication of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, third edition (DSM-III). The concept of a cluster of symptoms that occur in response to a particular stressor, however, has existed for centuries ...

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