Phenomenology of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Acute Stress Disorder

Matthew J. Friedman

in Oxford Handbook of Anxiety and Related Disorders

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9780195307030
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Phenomenology of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Acute Stress Disorder


This chapter reviews how fear-conditioning models of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have been bolstered by our growing understanding of neurocircuitry involving the amygdala, hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex. It describes the reexperiencing, avoidant/numbing, and hyperarousal symptom clusters as well as other PTSD diagnostic criteria with specific reference to DSM-IV's changes in the A (A1 and A2) stressor criterion. Associated symptoms (e.g., danger to self or others, intolerance of ongoing stressors, capacity to acquire social support, and risk of reactivation and relapse) are briefly discussed. Longitudinal course, comorbidity, epidemiology, risk factors, and cross-cultural issues are also addressed. Other posttraumatic syndromes described include acute stress disorder, partial/subsyndromal PTSD, and complex PTSD. Finally, clinical issues in assessment are considered.

Keywords: A criterion; acute stress disorder; avoidant symptoms; clinical issues; epidemiology; flashback; hyperarousal symptoms; numbing symptoms; altered neurocircuitry; PTSD diagnostic criteria; posttraumatic syndromes; psychological models; risk factors; trauma

Article.  5167 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Clinical Psychology

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribeRecommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »