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Difference Between COVID Stress Syndrome and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Both chronic post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and chronic post-traumatic stress disorder (COPS) are mental health illnesses associated with discomfort, anxiety, traumatic event, and emotional and cognitive abnormalities.
PTSD is a distinct mental illness characterised by more than a month of intrusive memories, avoidance symptoms, negative changes in mood and thinking, and changes in physical and emotional arousal, while COVID stress syndrome is a complex phenomenon characterised by a network of interrelated symptoms (traumatic stress symptoms, xenophobia, socioeconomic problems, reassurance seeking, and compulsive checking) with the danger of COVID-19 at its core. In what follows, we'll go even further into these discrepancies.
What is COVID Stress Syndrome?
Fear of the dangerousness of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a major component of COVID stress syndrome, which is characterised by a network of connected symptoms, including post-traumatic stress symptoms, xenophobia, socioeconomic issues, reassurance seeking, and obsessive monitoring. High levels of discomfort, panic purchasing, excessive avoidance, and maladaptive coping during periods of isolation are all connected to this.
Those who suffer from this disorder are more prone to have paranoid beliefs about the COVID-19 pandemic and to exhibit symptoms of anxiety and depression. This may represent its own issue or be a symptom of something like OCD, PTSD, or sickness anxiety (Taylor, et al., 2020).
A few of Taylor's discoveries are summarized here.
The respondents who had been diagnosed with COVID-19 reported higher levels of COVID stress than those who had not received a diagnosis.
Stress levels were greater among those of Asian and Hispanic heritage than among those of Black or African American and Caucasian ancestry, according to the COVID Stress Scales.
Health care professionals and those in high-risk occupations for contracting COVID-19 (such as salespeople, taxi drivers, etc.) did not have substantially different COVID stress levels based on occupation.
What is PTSD?
DSM-5 defines PTSD as a mental health disorder characterised by the following symptoms: exposure (direct or indirect) to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence; intrusion symptoms related to the traumatic event (such as memories, dreams, flashbacks, and psychological and/or physical reactions); avoidance of reminders, thoughts, feelings, or triggers; persistent negative changes in mood and behaviour; and persistent reliving of the traumatic event (e.g. irritability, angry outbursts, recklessness, hypervigilance, sleep disturbance, exaggerated startle response, and inability to concentrate).
In addition, the aforementioned disruptions are expected to last for more than a month. People of any age are susceptible to developing this illness, and typical onset of symptoms is within three months of the traumatic event.
In the past, this was also known as "shell shock", "war neuroses" "combat stress reaction (CSR)"and "battle fatigue" as the symptoms were apparent among World War I and World War II soldiers. In 1980, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) added PTSD to DSM-III. This was spurred by the research findings on Vietnam War Veterans, Holocaust survivors, sexual trauma victims, etc. (Friedman, 2019).
Differences: COVID Stress Syndrome and PTSD
The following table highlights the major differences between COVID Stress Syndrome and PTSD −
COVID Stress Syndrome
COVID stress syndrome is a complex phenomenon which is characterized by a network of interrelated symptoms, with fear of the dangerousness of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) as a central feature, interconnecting to traumatic stress symptoms, xenophobia, socioeconomic problems, reassurance seeking, and compulsive checking (Taylor, 2020).
PTSD is characterized by more than a month of intrusive memories, avoidance symptoms, negative changes in mood and thinking, and changes in physical and emotional reactions due to an exposure to a traumatic event (APA, 2013).
Also Known As
COVID stress syndrome has just been coined and does not have other distinct terms as of this moment.
PTSD was also known as "shell shock", "war neuroses" "combat stress reaction" "post-Vietnam syndrome" and "battle fatigue", among others, as the symptoms were apparent among World War I and World War II soldiers.
When Was the Term Introduced
As for COVID stress syndrome, this has just been recently introduced; Taylor (2020) and his colleagues developed the COVID Stress Scales and published the paper: "COVID Stress Syndrome: Concept, Structure, and Correlates".
In 1980, the APA added PTSD to DSM-III.
Not a distinct diagnosis.
In DSM-5, PTSD is classified under Trauma and Stressor-Related Disorders; this condition is also specified in the 11th edition of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), along with complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD).
Taylor (2020) stated that this condition could be a distinct disorder or a part of another one like illness anxiety disorder, PTSD, or obsessive-compulsive disorder.
In conclusion, PTSD covers exposure to any traumatic event, while COVID stress syndrome has the dangerousness of COVID-19 as a central feature.
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