PTSD is NOT permanent

Look at the different criteria for a diagnosis of PTSD. Pick one that is without a doubt permanent without chance of healing? In criteria B, C, D, and E, perhaps “Recurrent, involuntary, and intrusive memories” is a candidate for permanence, yet I want to point out three thoughts with this.

1: intrusive memories and thoughts can be worked through and the emotional connection lessened so that they lose their power

2: a judgment on the morality of a memory is not the same as an emotional reaction to a memory

3: and this is important, a memory or ability is NOT the same as an intrusive negative memory

To follow the thought of some people, PTSD is permanent because one always remembers the injustice or horror of the event. Think about this deeply and without an agenda for a moment. If you are unable to test positive for criteria C, D, and E, with nothing left but just the ability to recall the autobiographical memory of the event, does this item alone meet the criteria for a diagnosis of PTSD? No. If so, this is a misdiagnosis.

Note, this is not the same as diminishing the history of the person, nor their worth as a person. If you listen carefully, it appears that, other than sloppy logic, there is a (understandably) fierce defensiveness to affirm the history and abused rights of the victim. This is sometimes in response to society that says the suffering is not real, or that it is the victim's fault. So, again, this is understandable, but it is bad science. Don't confuse understanding and testing the model with devaluing the experience of the victim. They are not the same.

Now look at Criterion F: duration: Persistence of symptoms (in Criteria B, C, D, and E) for more than one month. What if someone has symptoms that last less than a month or less? What if they last six months or six years and then they are no more?

Criterion G: functional significance: Significant symptom-related distress or functional impairment (e.g., social, occupational). Regarding this, what if there are no longer any functional distress?

Can a person have PTSD if they no longer meet Criteria F and G? If so, then what is the use of this diagnostic tool? None.

I utterly reject that PTSD is permanent. I hear people say that “it is forever” all the time. Not only is it poor science but this perpetuates a hopeless victimhood. What's the best one can hope for from this?

 

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