Primary Care PTSD Screen (DSM-5) (PC-PTSD-5)

The Primary Care PTSD Screen (PC-PTSD-5) is a brief screening tool composed of five questions, specifically created to detect the possible presence of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in individuals. This questionnaire is strategically developed for use within primary care settings, allowing healthcare providers to quickly assess patients for symptoms that may indicate PTSD. By focusing on a small number of targeted questions, the PC-PTSD-5 makes it feasible to incorporate PTSD screening into routine patient visits without significantly extending the duration of the consultation.

The main function of the PC-PTSD-5 is to serve as an initial step in the identification process for PTSD. A positive result on this screen suggests that a more comprehensive evaluation is warranted to accurately diagnose the condition. This follow-up typically involves a more detailed structured interview conducted by a mental health professional. The design of the PC-PTSD-5 is such that it can efficiently signal the need for further assessment, thereby facilitating early detection and intervention for those at risk of or suffering from PTSD.

Incorporating the PC-PTSD-5 into primary care practices reflects an understanding of the importance of mental health screening in general healthcare. This tool enables primary care providers to play a pivotal role in the early identification of PTSD, a condition that, if left untreated, can significantly impair an individual's functioning and quality of life. By identifying patients who may benefit from additional mental health services, the PC-PTSD-5 contributes to a more holistic approach to patient care, where mental health is recognized as an integral component of overall well-being.

Sometimes things happen to people that are unusually or especially frightening, horrible, or traumatic. For example:

  • a serious accident or fire
  • a physical or sexual assault or abuse
  • an earthquake or flood
  • a war
  • seeing someone be killed or seriously injured
  • having a loved one die through homicide or suicide.

  Yes No
1. Have you ever experienced this kind of event?

In the past month, have you...

  Yes No
2. had nightmares about the event(s) or thought about the event(s) when you did not want to?
3. tried hard not to think about the event(s) or went out of your way to avoid situations that reminded you of the event(s)?
4. been constantly on guard, watchful, or easily startled?
5. felt numb or detached from people, activities, or your surroundings?
6. felt guilty or unable to stop blaming yourself or others for the event(s) or any problems the event(s) may have caused?
  1. A Prins, MJ Bovin, R Kimerling, DG Kaloupek, BP Marx, A Pless-Kaiser, PP Schnurr. The Primary Care PTSD Screen for DSM-5 (PC-PTSD-5): Development and Evaluation Within a Veteran Primary Care Sample. J Gen Intern Med 31(10): 1206-1211 ().