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Empirical Characterization of Heterogeneous Posttraumatic Stress Responses Is Necessary to Improve the Science of Posttraumatic Stress

Isaac R. Galatzer-Levy, PhD

Published: September 25, 2014

Article Abstract

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The concept of posttraumatic stress psychopathology is simple and intuitive: following a highly distressing event, some people develop sustained aversive responses that dominate their lives, causing overwhelming distress and havoc in their emotional, cognitive, behavioral, and interpersonal functioning. Despite the conceptual simplicity of posttraumatic stress, a decisive definition of the concept seems out of reach. The posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnosis differs both between international standards (ie, International Classification of Diseases) and the US standards (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders [DSM]) and across iterations of these manuals.

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