Should Posttraumatic Stress Be a Disorder or a Specifier? Towards Improved Nosology Within the DSM Categorical Classification System.

Abstract

PURPOSE OF REVIEW Since 1980, posttraumatic stress (PTS) disorder has been controversial because of its origin as a social construct, its discriminating trauma definition, and the Procrustean array of symptoms/clusters chosen for inclusion/exclusion. This review summarizes the history of trauma-related nosology and proposed changes, within current categorical models (trauma definitions, symptoms/clusters, subtypes/specifiers, disorders) and new models. RECENT FINDINGS Considering that trauma is a risk factor for virtually all mental disorders (particularly depressive, anxiety, dissociative, personality), the multi-finality of trauma (some survivors are resilient, and some develop PTS and/or non-PTS symptoms), and the various symptoms that trauma survivors express (mood, cognitive, perceptual, somatic), it is difficult to classify PTS. Because the human mind best comprehends categories, reliable classification generally necessitates using a categorical nosology but PTS defies categories (internalizing and/or externalizing, fear-based and/or numbing symptoms), the authors conclude that PTS-like DSM-5's panic attacks specifier-is currently best conceptualized as a specifier for other mental disorders.

DOI: 10.1007/s11920-017-0821-7

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Cite this paper

@article{Guina2017ShouldPS, title={Should Posttraumatic Stress Be a Disorder or a Specifier? Towards Improved Nosology Within the DSM Categorical Classification System.}, author={Jeffrey Guina and Matthew Baker and Kelly Stinson and Jon Maust and Joseph Coles and Pamela J Broderick}, journal={Current psychiatry reports}, year={2017}, volume={19 10}, pages={66} }