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United States Department  of Veterans Affairs

PTSD Screening (PCL) - Instructions

The following questions are a list of problems and complaints that veterans sometimes have in response to stressful military experiences. Please read each question carefully, then select the answer that indicates how much you have been bothered by that problem in the past month. This entire screening is processed on this local computer. No information is collected, stored or sent over the Internet. To ensure complete privacy, exit your web browser after completing this screening.

If you have problems accessing this tool, there is also text-only version.

PTSD Screening (PCL) - Manual Instructions

The following questions are a list of problems and complaints that veterans sometimes have in response to stressful military experiences. Please read each question carefully, then select the answer that indicates how much you have been bothered by that problem in the past month. Instructions on scoring and interpreting your results are located after the final question.

There is also an interactive version of this tool.

Repeated, disturbing memories, thoughts, or images of a stressful military experience?






Repeated, disturbing dreams of a stressful military experience?






Suddenly acting or feeling as if a stressful military experience were happening again (as if you were reliving it)?






Feeling very upset when something reminded you of a stressful military experience?






Having physical reactions (e.g., heart pounding, trouble breathing, sweating) when something reminded you of a stressful military experience?






Avoiding thinking about or talking about a stressful military experience or avoiding having feelings related to it?






Avoiding activities or situations because they reminded you of a stressful military experience?






Trouble remembering important parts of a stressful military experience?






Loss of interest in activities that you used to enjoy?






Feeling distant or cut off from other people?






Feeling emotionally numb or being unable to have loving feelings for those close to you?






Feeling as if your future somehow will be cut short?






Trouble falling or staying asleep?






Feeling irritable or having angry outbursts?






Having difficulty concentrating?






Being "superalert" or watchful or on guard?






Feeling jumpy or easily startled?






How to score your answers.

Now that you have answered each of the questions, you will need to score your answers. Each "Not at all" answer has value of one. Each "A little bit" answer has a value of two. Each "Moderately" answer has a value of three. Each "Quite a bit" answer has a value of four. Each "Extremely" answer has a value of five. Total all your answer scores to determine your screening result.

Read this if your screening result is between 0 and 20.

Your results

Your screen results indicate that you have few or no symptoms of PTSD. This screen is not designed to provide a comprehensive assessment or diagnosis of PTSD. Only a qualified physician or mental health provider can provide a complete assessment and diagnosis of PTSD. Only a qualified physician or mental health professional can differentiate symptoms of PTSD from other medical conditions. Only a qualified physician or mental health provider can prescribe appropriate treatment for PTSD or other medical conditions.

If you are concerned about any illness, regardless of what the screen shows, you should seek further evaluation from your physician. If you are concerned that you may have a medical emergency or are having thoughts of harming yourself or someone else, call 911, or go immediately to the nearest hospital emergency room for an evaluation.

You can print this page for your own records or to give to your physician or a mental health care provider by pressing CTRL+P or by going to File>Print in your browser's menu.

Read this if your screening result is between 21 and 29.

Your results

Your screen results are consistent with minimal symptoms of PTSD. If these symptoms are distressing to you or are distracting you at work, or home, you may benefit from seeing your physician or a qualified mental health professional for a complete evaluation, as soon as practical. Although many veterans/individuals cope well with symptoms like yours, effective treatments for PTSD are available to help reduce your symptoms and improve your quality of life. A mental health professional or your physician can advise you about whether you can benefit from treatment and describe different treatment alternatives.

This screen is not designed to provide a comprehensive assessment or diagnosis of PTSD. Only a qualified physician or mental health provider can provide a complete assessment and diagnosis of PTSD. Only a qualified physician or mental health professional can differentiate symptoms of PTSD from other medical conditions. Only a qualified physician or mental health provider can prescribe appropriate treatment for PTSD or other medical conditions.

If you are concerned about any illness, regardless of what the screen shows, you should seek further evaluation from your physician. If you are concerned that you may have a medical emergency or are having thoughts of harming yourself or someone else, call 911, or go immediately to the nearest hospital emergency room for an evaluation.

You can print this page for your own records or to give to your physician or a mental health care provider by pressing CTRL+P or by going to File>Print in your browser's menu.

Read this if your screening result is between 30 and 85.

Your results

Your screen results are consistent with many of the symptoms of PTSD. You are advised to see your physician or a qualified mental health professional immediately for a complete assessment. Although many veterans/individuals cope well with symptoms like yours, effective treatments for PTSD are available to help reduce your symptoms and improve your quality of life. A mental health professional or your physician can advise you about whether you can benefit from treatment and describe different treatment alternatives.

This screen is not designed to provide a comprehensive assessment or diagnosis of PTSD. Only a qualified physician or mental health provider can provide a complete assessment and diagnosis of PTSD. Only a qualified physician or mental health professional can differentiate symptoms of PTSD from other medical conditions. Only a qualified physician or mental health provider can prescribe appropriate treatment for PTSD or other medical conditions.

If you are concerned about any illness, regardless of what the screen shows, you should seek further evaluation from your physician. If you are concerned that you may have a medical emergency or are having thoughts of harming yourself or someone else, call 911, or go immediately to the nearest hospital emergency room for an evaluation.

You can print this page for your own records or to give to your physician or a mental health care provider by pressing CTRL+P or by going to File>Print in your browser's menu.


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