According to the DSM 5, one no longer needs to experience a trauma, but only to have learned about a trauma, to develop PTSD. Field researchers have found that some children, who came from good and trauma free homes, have demonstrated symptoms of PTSD.
This occurs in instances where a child’s parents experienced a trauma and processed the trauma in front of the child.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Childhood Onset
The child, under 12, has experienced, witnessed, or learned about the following:
- Serious Injury
- Sexual Violation
- Violent Accident
This experience was not from television, the Internet, or other electronic means. The experience / learning was introduced via a close interpersonal relationship.
For example, after World War II, survivors of the holocaust processed their trauma in front of their children. Some of those children displayed symptoms of PTSD, even though they have not been in the holocaust themselves. It was at the time described as “psychological disarray,” because PTSD was not a known disorder yet (Note: PTSD was not developed until the Veitnam war, where is was created to give psychiatrists a framework to understand what was occurring in veterans who can seen combat. Prior to the DSM III, PTSD was not a diagnosis, but a combination of diagnoses).
This happened again after the 9/11 attacks.
On criticisms of the DSM 5 is that it includes 3.5 pages of diagnostic criteria for PTSD. This is of drastic length and is a major concern for critics who have pointed out that several individuals on the DSM 5 task force were PTSD researchers and may have used the DSM 5 as a vehicle to demonstrate their research concepts.