In posttraumatic stress disorder, a traumatic event is persistently reexperienced in the form of intrusive recollections, dreams or dissociative flashback episodes; cues to the event lead to distress and are avoided, and there are persistent symptoms of increased arousal. While this diagnostic concept has been widely discussed and its existence questioned, a novel written by Charles Dickens long before it was included in any diagnostic system can be viewed as an early case report of posttraumatic stress disorder.

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