Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is diagnosed when an individual displays a cluster of symptoms that include various manifestations of the following: dissociation (feeling removed from reality), re-experiencing (flashbacks), and increased arousal (heightened stress response). In order for a diagnosis of PTSD to occur, however, these symptoms need to be as a result of the individual having been directly exposed to an event that threatened their life and/or safety or that of another individual. This criterion is known as the A1 criterion, since it is the primary criterion that must be present in order for diagnosis to occur. Amongst the general population, 7-8% of people will end up with PTSD at some point in their life. Within certain groups of people, however, such as individuals with substance-use disorders, the rate of diagnosis is much higher. For example, in one sample of substance-abusing psychiatric patients, researchers found that 90% had experienced physical/sexual assault and at least 50% met the diagnostic criteria for crime-related PTSD. However, there is a new direction of understanding with regard to trauma-related stress reactions; it is referred to as complex PTSD (CPTSD). Individuals in this category meet all of the same diagnostic criteria as […]