Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was introduced into the world psychiatric nomenclature in 1978 (World Health Organization, 1978) with the publication of the ICD-9, documenting the cross-cultural recognition of the typical symptomatic response to exposure to traumatic life events (e.g., Horowitz, 1976). The characteristic core of the disorder includes the distressing oscillation between intrusion and avoidance. Intrusion is characterized by nightmares, unbidden visual images of the trauma or its aftermath while awake, intrusive thoughts about aspects of the traumatic event, sequelae, or self-conceptions. Avoidance is typified by deliberate efforts to not think about the event, not talk about the event, and avoid of reminders of the event. Also characteristic are more active attempts to push memories and recollections of the event or its aftermath out of mind by increasing use of alcohol or drugs, overworking, or other strategies designed to divert attention or to so exhaust someone that he or she is temporarily untouched by the intrusive phenomenology. In addition to the frank avoidance, Horowitz also described emotional numbing as a not uncommon sequel to exposure to a traumatic life event (Horowitz, 1975; Horowitz &Kaltreider, 1977). There is empirical evidence supporting three of these four phenomena.


Traumatic Event Event Scale Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Emotional Intelligence Posttraumatic Stress Disorder 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel S. Weiss
    • 1
  1. 1.Professor of Medical PsychiatryUniversity of California at San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA

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