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Nord J Psychiatry. 2004;58(5):343-8.

Post-traumatic stress disorder: the chameleon of psychiatry.

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  • 1Atvidaberg Health Care Centre, Sweden.


Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been included in the DSM category of psychiatric diagnoses since 1980, classified as an anxiety disorder. Since that time, its definition has undergone considerable change and today many physicians are not aware of its current diagnostic criteria or the clinical significance of its high degree of comorbidity with other psychiatric and somatic conditions. PTSD can appear in different forms, and its many manifestations often identified and dealt with, while the underlying pathological trauma and psychological damage continues unrecognized and untreated, resulting in negative consequences for the patient and society. The extent of the problem is considerable in North America but prevalence studies in Europe are practically non-existent amongst the general population, with the subsequent result being that the degree and severity of the problem in Europe remains unknown. This article briefly looks at the history and metamorphosis of PTSD and discusses its present niche in relation to primary healthcare.

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