Lecture 6 - PTSD and Dissociative Disorders

  1. 8 criteria for PTSD
    • stressor
    • intrusion symptoms
    • avoidance
    • negative alteration in cognitions and mood that began or worsened after the traumatic event
    • alterations in arousal and reactivity
    • duration
    • functional significance
    • exclusion
  2. central idea of PTSD
    • a traumatic event establishes a memory that gives rise to a characteristic profile of signs and symptoms
    • natural selection ensures that people remember potentially life-threatening experiences
    • stress hormones released during the trauma render the central features of the trauma highly memorable
  3. Psychopathology of PTSD
    • recalling traumas involuntarily with the full emotional force of the original experience
    • failure of stress symptoms to abate despite the absence of danger
  4. 4 symptomatic clusters of PTSD
    • intrusion cluster — re-experiencing symptoms like traumatic nightmares, sensory images
    • avoidance cluster — efforts to avoid feelings, thoughts, and reminders of the trauma
    • negative alterations in cognitions and mood (emotional numbing, distorted blame of self)
    • alterations in arousal and reactivity (exaggerated startle, aggression, reckless behavior, hyper vigilance)
  5. why is exposure to a stressor necessary to qualify for PTSD
    • core symptoms of PTSD possess intentionality (the symptoms are not merely caused by a trauma, they are about the trauma)
    • many symptoms overlap with other disorders, but its the memory of the trauma that unites them into a coherent syndrome
  6. 7 risk factors for PTSD
    • female sex
    • neuroticism
    • lower social support
    • preexisting psychiatric illness (especially anxiety and mood disorders)
    • family history of anxiety, mood, or substance abuse disorders
    • neurological soft signs
    • small hippocampi
  7. two types of thoughts about the trauma
    • ruminative and intrusive thoughts about the trauma (why did this have to happen to me)
    • repetitive and intrusive thoughts of the trauma (vivid sensory flashbacks of the event)
    • only intrusive sensory memories qualify as re-experiencing symptoms, not ruminative thoughts
  8. what counts as traumatic stressor in DSM-III? and how did that change?
    • only traumatic stressor falling outside the boundary of everyday experience could produce PTSD, ordinary stressors could not cause PTSD
    • BUT most people exposed to traumatic stressors don’t develop PTSD and some that don’t experience those stressors still meet criteria for PTSD
    • so the criteria for trauma was broadened in DSM-IV
  9. compared to traumatic memories, memories of positive events..
    • fade in terms of vividness and emotional intensity
    • decrease in accuracy over time
  10. what are dissociative disorders?
    • a disruption in the normal memory, identity, consciousness
    • feelings of unreality, emotional numbing, time slowing down
  11. Dissociative Amnesia
    • inability to recall important autobiographical information, usually of traumatic or stressful nature
    • the more often trauma occurs, more emotionally distressing it is, the more likely they will not remember having suffered any trauma
    • dissociated memories cannot be retrieved normally
  12. Dissociative Identity Disorder
    • act as if different personalities seize control of the person at various times
    • personalities vary in their behavior, have diff names
    • victims sense of self dissociates into multiple identities
  13. what does dissociative identity disorder arise from?
    chronic, severe sexual and physical abuse during childhood
  14. Depersonalization/Derealization Disorder
    • during an episode, people feel emotionally numb + disconnected from body, experience the world as an unreal dream
    • onset is usually sudden but some can experience the state for months or years
Card Set
Lecture 6 - PTSD and Dissociative Disorders
Exam 1, Lecture 6 - PTSD and Dissociative Disorders