The American Psychiatric Association will introduce new criteria for diagnosing preschoolers younger than age six with a unique form of post traumatic stress disorder when it releases its newest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) in May. The DSM is the manual used by clinicians and researchers for the diagnosis and classification of mental disorders and conditions.
Although PTSD has been diagnosed in children for many years, the criteria used have been difficult to apply. For instance, it is difficult to quantify “a feeling of detachment or estrangement from others” in an infant or a toddler. Other wording, such as “inability to recall an important aspect of the trauma” and a “sense of foreshortened future” will be eliminated.
Wording for new criteria includes “markedly diminished interest or participation in significant activities, including constriction of play.”