Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – Contemporary Analysis of medico-legal evidential issues
For submission to Expert Witness Journal
Hugh Koch, Clinical Psychologist and Visiting Professor in Law and Psychology to Birmingham City University
Nkem Adeleye, Lecturer in Tort Law (BCU)
Jon Willows and Chris Harrop, both clinical psychologists with Hugh Koch Associates
In DSM-5, one of the two main classification schemes of mental disorders (APA, 2013), the diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has undergone multiple, albeit minor, changes. It now comprises four, not three, symptom clusters with the addition of persistent negative beliefs and distorted negative beliefs about oneself, plus a dissociative specifier (depersonalisation and derealization). Overall prevalence of this diagnosis is unlikely to change, but the greater heterogeneity of individuals being diagnosed with PTSD is probable (Zoellner et al, 2013). This paper summarises and discusses the many important medico-legal issues surrounding the PTSD disorder and its diagnosis and implications for both experts and lawyers.
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