Changes In DSM-5: Racism Can Cause PTSD Similar To That Of Soldiers After War : Conditions : Medical Daily: Dr. Monnica T. Williams suggests that proposed changes in the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) could increase the potential for better recognition of race-based trauma in racial and ethnic minorities.
In a recent article in Psychology Today, Williams, who is a clinical psychologist and the associate director of the University of Louisville's Center for Mental Health Disparities, said that before the release of the DSM-5 Thursday, racism was recognized as a trauma that could potentially cause PTSD, but only in relation to a specific event. There had to be an incident of intense fear, helplessness, or horror for such consideration. For instance, if someone was assaulted in a racially-motivated event, then racism qualified as a sufficient trauma to be categorized as a cause of PTSD.
But now, under the new definition, the requirements for fear, helplessness, and horror have been removed, making room for the more lasting effects of subtle racism to be considered in the discussion of race-based traumas.
In 2011, researchers found that African Americans who reported experiences of racial discrimination had higher odds of suffering from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). An article on PsychCentral termed the phenomenon as "racial battle fatigue, saying that "exposure to racial discrimination is analogous to the constant pressure soldiers face on the battlefield."