PTSD controversies

It will be apparent that the definition of a traumatic event has been widened in successive editions of the DSM; almost any accident could be described as a 'threat to one's physical integrity', and 'witnessing an event' is surely qualitatively different from being involved. This has led to people having received compensation for harassment in the workplace on the basis of PTSD, when the initial definition of PTSD related to serious physical trauma.

As indicated above, there are doubts about the 'post' in PTSD. The very name 'PTSD' may be misleading, in that it assumes that the trauma is causative, while not mentioning the importance of vulnerability. Further, the clinician has to make a judgement about the severity of trauma when he was not there and is not in any case an expert on it. Critics have suggested that these inherent flaws in the concept of PTSD should lead to its removal from the international classifications of psychiatry. However, it seems likely to be with us for some time yet.

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