PTSD tests (Top 3)

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In this article we will discuss some common PTSD tests. 

We will closely discuss what PTSD tests are, the various kinds of clinical and self tests, as well as what PTSD is and the symptoms of PTSD. 

What are PTSD tests?

Post Traumatic Stress disorder tests are clinical and self-assessment tools that can help clinicians and other people evaluate PTSD symptoms. 

These tests are either used for clinical diagnosis and in the case of self-assessment tools; be used as a guide to help them recognize their own conditions and get the help they need. 

The self assessment tools of assessment do not substitute or should not be used in place of an official clinical diagnosis done by a clinical professional and oftentimes these assessments are not recognised by the clinical field. 

Some of the most common PTSD tests are:

Clinical tests

Clinical PTSD tests are assessments that are used by clinicians, professional therapists, and licensed psychologists to assess PTSD symptoms to clinically diagnose an individual based on the DSM- 5 criteria for PTSD diagnosis. 

The various kinds of Clinical tests and assessments for P{TSD include the following:

CAPS-5

The Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-5 (CAPS-5) is a standard test used by clinicians and licensed psychologists to diagnose PTSD.

The test consists of a 30-item questionnaire to establish whether a person can be diagnosed with PTSD based on the individual experience of symptoms over the past week.

As well as the onset and duration of how long they have been affected, the impact the symptoms have on their lives, and the severity of the symptoms. 

Treatment-Outcome Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Scale (TOP-8)

The TOP-8 is an interview-based assessment based on the DSM-5 criteria to diagnose PTSD and to evaluate symptoms. 

This scale covers various symptoms related to intrusion, avoidance, and numbing based on which the individual is diagnosed by a licensed clinician. 

Self Testing

These self testing tools can be used by individuals to understand whether they might have PTSD and then take the report to the professionals or clinical psychologist to get a clinical assessment doen for further treatment. 

The Davidson Trauma Scale (DTS)

The Davidson Trauma Scale (DTS) is a self assessment tool that can be used by any individual to screen for PTSD if they suspect themselves or others of being affected by this disorder. 

The test consists of items that cover areas related to startle, physiological arousal, anger, and emotional numbness. 

This assessment can be used by people before seeking out professional treatment if they have any suspecting thoughts of being affected by PTSD. 

Individuals can take this test to understand whether they might have PTSD and then take the report to the professionals or clinical psychologist to get a clinical assessment doen for further treatment. 

PTSD Checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5)

This particular checklist can be used by individuals who have already been diagnosed with PTSD and are undergoing treatment to keep a check or monitor their symptoms. 

They can use this checklist of 20 questions as a way to assess themselves to understand their standpoint in their journey to recovery from PTSD. 

The checklist is often used to support individuals in their PTSD recovery and has been widely used for diagnosis by professional and licensed clinicians as well as by patients for monitoring symptoms. 

Short PTSD Rating Interview (SPRINT)

The Short PTSD Rating Interview, or SPRINT, assesses eight major PTSD symptoms which include the following:

  • Intrusion such as intrusive thoughts
  • Avoidance behaviour 
  • Numbing behaviour
  • Arousal such as hypervigilance
  • Somatic malaise
  • Vulnerability to stress 
  • Role and social impairment as well as dysfunction

The test uses a five-point scale and if the individual has answered any items of the scale above zero, they need further assessment. 

This assessment can be used by people before seeking out professional treatment if they have any suspecting thoughts of being affected by PTSD. 

Individuals can take this test to understand whether they might have PTSD and then take the report to the professionals or clinical psychologist to get a clinical assessment doen for further treatment. 

Mental health America PTSD screening

This very brief screening test by the MHA for PTSD explores PTSD related symptoms in very simple words so that it can be taken by any individual. 

The test provides you with a report after it is completed and also provides you with resources as to how you can get help if needed. 

However, self-assessment cannot substitute for an official, clinical diagnosis of PTSD and for you to get a diagnosis and treatment, you will have to speak to a medical or mental health professional for it.

You can access this test here

Clinical Partners PTSD test

This particular at home assessment contains 22 items that cover various issues related to PTSD based on DSM-5 criteria. 

You can take the test and the report will be provided to you with a minimal fee. 

However, self-assessment cannot substitute for an official, clinical diagnosis of PTSD and for you to get a diagnosis and treatment, you will have to speak to a medical or mental health professional for it.

You can access this test here

TalkSpace PTSD test

The TalkSpace assessment for PTSD is an online test that you can take at the comfort of your own home. 

The test requires you to read each statement carefully and answer based on your experiences in the past month. 

After you have taken the test, the service also provides you with a licensed therapist to help you cope with your condition.

However, self-assessment cannot substitute for an official, clinical diagnosis of PTSD and for you to get a diagnosis and treatment, you will have to speak to a medical or mental health professional for it.

You can access this assessment here

What is PTSD?

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder that may occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. It could be a direct or indirect experience and can even happen due to repeated exposure to details of a traumatic event.

People with PTSD often struggle with their cognitions and emotions because they relive the event through flashbacks and nightmares, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event. 

People with PTSD may avoid situations or people that remind them of the traumatic event, and they may have strong reactions to ordinary events and often feel detached and isolated. 

PTSD is a debilitating disorder that can impact a person’s relationships, work, responsibilities like parenting and occupational/ academic tasks and can severely impact their sense of self. 

What are the diagnostic criteria of PTSD?

The following diagnostic criteria has been taken from the DSM-5 published by the American psychological association in 2013.

The criteria listed below apply to people above the age of 6 where for children below the age of six, the criteria is slightly different.

For PTSD to be diaognosed, the individual should have had Exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence in one (or more) of the following ways:

  • Directly experiencing the traumatic event(s).
  • Witnessing the event(s) as it occurred to others in person.
  • Learning that the traumatic event(s) occurred to a close family member or close friend. 
  • Experiencing repeated or extreme exposure to details of the traumatic event(s) 

There is also the experience of intrusive thoughts beginning after the traumatic event(s) occurred such as:

  • Recurrent distressing memories of the traumatic event(s). 
  • Recurrent distressing dreams in which the content is related to the traumatic event(s). 

They also experience dissociative reactions such as flashbacks, where the individual feels or acts as if the traumatic event(s) were recurring. 

They also experience psychological distress that is intense when exposed to internal or external cues that resemble an aspect of the traumatic event along with physiological reactions such as sweating, higher heart rate, shivering etc.

There is persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the traumatic event(s) such as:

  • Avoiding distressing memories, thoughts, and feelings, of the traumatic events. 
  • Avoidance of external reminders (people, places, conversations, activities, objects, situations) of the traumatic event(s).

The struggle with altering cognitive processes and moods after the traumatic event has occurred such as:

  • Inability to remember an important aspect of the traumatic event(s).
  • They develop extremely negative beliefs or expectations about oneself, others, or the world
  • They have distorted ideas about the consequences of the traumatic event(s) that lead the individual to blame himself/herself or others.
  • They are in a perpetual negative state of mood such as anger, sadness, etc. 
  • Feelings of detachment or estrangement from others- loneliness.
  • Inability to experience positive emotions such as love, happiness. 

They may also exhibit the following affective symptoms such as:

  • Irritable behaviour and angry outbursts (with little or no provocation), typically expressed as aggression. 
  • Reckless or self-destructive behaviour.
  • Hypervigilance.
  • Exaggerated startle response.
  • Problems with concentration.
  • Sleep disturbance 

These symptoms must persist for more than one month and cause significant distress and impairment in their social, and occupational functioning and are not attributed to other disorders, medical conditions, and substance use.

Conclusion

In this article we have discussed some common PTSD tests. 

We have closely discussed what PTSD tests are, the various kinds of clinical and self tests, as well as what PTSD is and the symptoms of PTSD. 

FAQ related to PTSD test

What tests are done to diagnose PTSD?

The standard test done to diagnose PTSD is the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-5 (CAPS-5).

How do you prove you have PTSD?

To be diagnosed with PTSD, an individual will have to assess positively to various core symptoms of PTSD according to the DSM-5 such as:

  • Intrusion such as intrusive thoughts
  • Avoidance behaviour 
  • Numbing behaviour
  • Arousal such as hypervigilance
  • Somatic malaise
  • Vulnerability to stress 
  • Role and social impairment as well as dysfunction

Does PTSD go away?

PTSD symptoms will go away with effective treatment provided that the individual is consistent with their journey to improve and recover but it will take time and effort. 

Is PTSD a mental illness or disorder?

PTSD is a mental disorder. 

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced something shocking, traumatic, and at times dangerous. 

What are the 5 stages of PTSD?

The five stages of PTSD include:

  • Impact or Emergency Stage
  • Denial/ Numbing Stage.
  • Rescue Stage where treatment and intervention begins.
  • Short-term Recovery or Intermediate Stage.
  • Long-term reconstruction or recovery stage.

What can PTSD be mistaken for?

PTSD can be confused with generalised anxiety disorder because of the intense anxiety and intrusive thoughts that come with both disorders. 

What happens if PTSD is left untreated?

Untreated PTSD can lead to chronic pain, depression, anxiety, drug and alcohol abuse and sleep problems and death.

References

Polizzi.M. How PTSD Is Diagnosed. Verywell well. Retrieved on 26th January 2022. https://www.verywellhealth.com/how-ptsd-is-diagnosed-5114706#toc-professional-screenings

American psychiatric Association (2020). What Is Posttraumatic Stress Disorder? Retrieved on  26th January 2022. . https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/ptsd/what-is-ptsd

Centre for Substance Abuse Treatment (US). Trauma-Informed Care in Behavioural Health Services. Rockville (MD): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US); 2014. (Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 57.) Exhibit 1.3-4, DSM-5 Diagnostic Criteria for PTSD. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK207191/box/part1_ch3.box16

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