PTSD diagnoses and treatments: Closing the gap between ICD-11 and DSM-5

Amy Lehrner, Rachel Yehuda

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The diagnostic status of 'complex' post-Traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) remains controversial. The revisions to PTSD diagnostic criteria in ICD-11 and DSM-5 take opposing positions on how best to conceptualise post-Traumatic presentations that include affect dysregulation, interpersonal difficulties and negative self-concept. ICD-11 carved out a separate category of complex PTSD (CPTSD) that is distinct from PTSD, whereas DSM-5 expanded PTSD to encompass such symptoms. Each approach carries problematic implications for clinical care. ICD-11 creates a dichotomy but the criteria themselves suggest a difference in severity rather than category. Furthermore, separating CPTSD perpetuates expectations that a 'simple' PTSD can be easily treated with brief trauma-focused therapy. DSM-5 complicates the PTSD diagnosis, but does not revise treatment recommendations. Both ICD and DSM need to recognise that most patients with PTSD do not reflect the clinical trial samples and do not fully recover with brief manualised therapies. Treatment guidelines should be developed that address the multiple needs and challenges of all patients with PTSD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-155
Number of pages3
JournalBJ Psych Advances
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 May 2020


  • PTSD
  • complex PTSD
  • diagnosis
  • treatment


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