Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Diagnosis and Tratment

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a topical health problem due to the challenges that medical professionals face when treating this disease. To assess the difficulty of interventions and the variability of measures about this problem, one should consider the diagnostic criteria for PTSD, psychological responses, maladaptive patterns, and possible therapeutic procedures. As a justification base, relevant academic resources will be involved to search for relevant rationales in support of the proposed ideas. The considered disorder requires increased attention as the disease with a sufficiently large spectrum of associated problems and non-standard approaches to identification and intervention.

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Diagnostic Criteria/Categorization

The name of the health problem under consideration was chosen due to the key criterion determining the susceptibility of the disease. According to Franklin, Raines, Chambliss, Walton, and Maieritsch (2018), in most classifications, a psychological trauma experienced is the main factor influencing the development of PTSD in people of different ages and social groups. Dissociative symptoms imply depersonalization that is expressed in the isolation of reality and derealization that is the constant experience of the unreality of all the events (Franklin et al., 2018).

Regarding the categorization of the disorder, there are such levels of problem assessment as DSM-IV and DSM-V, and in each of them, the interpretations of diagnostic criteria have minor differences (Michopoulos et al., 2015). The term PTSD as a separate diagnosis has developed by the unique symptoms that are typical for the ailment.

Physiological Responses

If a patient has PTSD, certain psychological reactions occur under the influence of the ailment. Michopoulos et al. (2015) note that such symptoms may be characterized as a persistent inability to experience positive emotions, attempts to avoid distress memories and problems with concentration. While experiencing this disease, patients cannot block their memory completely, and periodic flashbacks are a complicating factor slowing down the healing process. In this regard, the symptomatic treatment of PTSD involves not only those interventions that are aimed at eliminating the current manifestation of the disorder but also targeted work to stop unpleasant and frightening memories.

Maladaptive Patterns

The inflexibility of cognitive patterns that occur in PTSD patients is the cause of the development of non-adaptive patterns. As Malgaroli, Maccallum, and Bonanno (2018) argue, the generalization of fear, anger, and the constant rethinking of a specific trauma are key factors that are almost impossible to treat without medical interventions. As a result, a patient cannot get rid of these symptoms on one’s own, which worsens his or her condition and causes additional difficulties, for example, dissociation.

In situations of frustration, the lack of behavioral adaptability is also accompanied by high emotionality, which carries a certain threat to people (Malgaroli et al., 2018). In case of failures to provide timely assistance and treatment, such patterns can lead to dangerous consequences since the psychological state of a patient who cannot cope with the problem is deformed, and aggression can manifest itself in a severe form.


Patients’ interest in treatment is an essential aspect of the fight against PTSD since the participants of assistance programs are also responsible for the outcomes of interventions. Regarding treatment technologies, there are pharmacological and non-pharmacological ways of dealing with the considered ailment. According to Lanius, Frewen, Tursich, Jetly, and McKinnon (2015), medications used to combat the disorder usually refer to psychotropic remedies and may include tranquilizers, antidepressants, and other components of a sedative drug group. As a non-pharmacological intervention, cognitive psychotherapy may be an effective measure of exposure.

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As Lanius et al. (2015) note, working with different types of memory allows physicians to control the thought processes of patients, thereby reducing their habit of returning to a certain trauma. Combining treatment types is strictly individual, and appropriate medical prescriptions are necessary.

Management of PTSD

Managing the symptoms of PTSD is a crucial task for patients with this disorder. Timely medical consultations and observation are important factors preventing the development of severe forms of the disease. In this context, involving family members may be a valuable intervention since patients with PTSD should receive appropriate care assistance not only in a clinical setting but also at home. Challenges may arise with the control of psychological states because the manifestation of the effects of a certain trauma, as a rule, is not associated with external factors. Therefore, care for patients with the mental illness in question should include timely assistance in regulating behavioral patterns and interventions based on either pharmacological or non-pharmacological principles of assistance.


PTSD is a dangerous psychological disorder that requires medical observations not only due to severe violations in patients’ emotional states but also a potential threat to people. The manifestations of aggression and deviant behavior can be the symptoms of this disease. Also, non-adaptive patterns may manifest, for instance, uncontrollable memories or dissociation. As control measures, both pharmacological (psychotropic drugs) and non-pharmacological (working with professional psychologists) interventions can be applied. Proper care and involving family members are the valuable aspects of assistance programs.


Franklin, C. L., Raines, A. M., Chambliss, J. L., Walton, J. L., & Maieritsch, K. P. (2018). Examining various subthreshold definitions of PTSD using the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-5. Journal of Affective Disorders, 234, 256-260. Web

Lanius, R. A., Frewen, P. A., Tursich, M., Jetly, R., & McKinnon, M. C. (2015). Restoring large-scale brain networks in PTSD and related disorders: A proposal for neuroscientifically-informed treatment interventions. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 6(1), 27313. Web

Malgaroli, M., Maccallum, F., & Bonanno, G. A. (2018). Symptoms of persistent complex bereavement disorder, depression, and PTSD in a conjugally bereaved sample: A network analysis. Psychological Medicine, 48(14), 2439-2448. Web

Michopoulos, V., Rothbaum, A. O., Jovanovic, T., Almli, L. M., Bradley, B., Rothbaum, B. O.,… Ressler, K. J. (2015). Association of CRP genetic variation and CRP level with elevated PTSD symptoms and physiological responses in a civilian population with high levels of trauma. American Journal of Psychiatry, 172(4), 353-362. Web

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