Trauma exposure is ubiquitous. Epidemiological studies estimate that approximately 60-90% of individuals living in the United States have been exposed to one or more traumatic events in their lifetime. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a common, often debilitating, psychological reaction after trauma exposure. Seven to twelve percent of individuals exposed to trauma will be diagnosed with PTSD in their lifetime. Yet, many health providers fail to assess for trauma exposure or PTSD during their routine clinical practice, which may lead to inaccurate diagnoses and inadequate treatment for those in need. PTSD is associated with a host of negative psychological, behavioral, and physical outcomes. Thus the routine assessment and diagnosis of PTSD could help improve treatment outcomes for individuals with this condition. This online CE course provides a review of the definition of trauma, the major types of traumas, prevalence rates of trauma exposure, common reactions to trauma including PTSD, and risk and protective factors for the development of PTSD after trauma exposure. The history of the PTSD diagnosis is reviewed including the recent changes to the PTSD diagnostic criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), 5th Edition. Additionally, this course reviews the current DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for PTSD, identifies the most common co-occurring psychological, behavioral, and physical health problems associated with PTSD; reviews methods for screening and assessment of trauma and PTSD; and examines common clinical and diagnostic challenges associated with the assessment and diagnosis of PTSD.
This online course is approved for APA CE credit, NBCC CE clock hours, ASWB Clinical CE clock hours, and NYSED CE credit.
After completing this course, health professionals will be able to:
- Define trauma-related psychopathology, including recognizing 10 major types of trauma, prevalence rates of trauma exposure, and the 4 symptom clusters of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) currently included in DSM-5 diagnostic criteria.
- Identify 3 comorbid psychiatric conditions and 4 medical disorders commonly associated with PTSD, along with risk and protective factors for the development of PTSD.
- Recognize 7 trauma-specific measures along with professional and evidence-based guidelines for use in a variety of the trauma contexts, including the forensic arena.
- Describe and discuss at least 3 clinical and diagnostic challenges that can arise in PTSD assessment.