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Posttraumatic Stress Disorder E003

Last amended 
7 November 2022
Current RMA Instruments
Reasonable Hypothesis SOP
97 of 2022
Balance of Probabilities SOP
98 of 2022
Changes from previous Instruments

SOP Bulletin 233

ICD Coding
  • ICD-10-AM: F43.1
Brief description

PTSD is a mental health disorder that is a reaction to being exposed to a perceived significant psychological trauma. This disorder can follow on from acute stress disorder, or uncommonly, the onset can be delayed until some time after the original trauma.

Confirming the diagnosis

This diagnosis requires a report from a specialist psychiatrist that conforms with the Repatriation Commission Guidelines for Psychiatric Compensation Claims.

Additional diagnoses covered by these SOPs
  • Nil
Historic diagnoses that may be covered by these SOPs
  • Battle fatigue
  • Shell shock
  • War or combat neurosis
Conditions not covered by these SOPs
  • Acute stress disorder*
  • Adjustment disorder*
  • Anxiety disorder*
  • Chronic multisymptom illness*
  • Postconcussion syndrome (not a diease or injury - per RMA declaration)
  • Somatoform disorder*
  • Unspecified trauma- and stressor-related disorder#

*another SOP applies

unsatisfactory diagnosis - seek clarification/a more specific diagnosis if possible.

Clinical onset

Onset of PTSD may be immediate, or close in time to any causative traumatic event, or, in a small proportion of cases, may be delayed (by months or years).  The diagnostic criteria need to be fulfilled for one month before the diagnosis can be confirmed (onset would then be, retrospectively, at the start of that one month period).  Symptoms lasting for less than one month may be diagnosed as acute stress disorder.

For delayed onset PTSD, or for any mental health condition that has diagnostic criteria, the clinical onset will be when the required criteria were first fulfilled, which may be some time after relevant symptoms first developed - i.e., if initially some PTSD symptoms were present, but they were insufficient to meet the diagnostic criteria, then PTSD had not had its clinical onset at that point.  It is only once the symptoms fulfil the criteria (and persist for at least one month) that onset has occurred.

Clinical worsening

PTSD can spontaneously resolve, continue as a persistent disorder, or fluctuate with a variable pattern of remissions and relapses.  A range of treatment options are available and the effectiveness of treatment varies between types and between individuals.