This chapter reviews psychiatric diagnostic labels and specifically post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The diagnostic criteria for PTSD are presented. The process of stigmatisation and psychiatric labelling is discussed along with critical ideas regarding PTSD as a discrete diagnostic category. Some research in relation to PTSD is presented, including neurobiological explanations. The chapter offers a systemic critique of psychiatric diagnostic classifications. Life-cycle issues and the impact of context on behaviours can be used by systemic clinicians in their practice to ensure that diagnostic labels are pragmatically useful.
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