Critical incident is currently not listed as a diagnosis in the DSM-5-TR or ICD-11.
The term critical incident is most often used to describe a potentially psychologically traumatic event experienced by public safety personnel (PSP) that evokes unusually strong emotional reactions.
A critical incident may occur when a person is overwhelmed by the scope, severity, personal connection to, or degree of exposure to a potentially psychologically traumatic event.
The term critical incident is often used interchangeably with potentially psychologically traumatic event (PPTE) / psychologically traumatic event / potentially psychologically traumatic stressor / psychologically traumatic stressor (PTS) / traumatic event / traumatic stressor or trauma.
Critical incident is currently not listed as a diagnosis in either the DSM-5-TR or the ICD-11.
The term critical incident is most commonly used by public safety personnel (PSP) to describe a potentially psychologically traumatic event (PPTE).
Critical incidents are thought to involve experiencing unusually strong emotional reactions that have the potential to interfere with a person’s ability to function either at the scene of a PPTE or following the PPTE. Critical incidents can involve “all physical custody (arrests), all vehicle and foot pursuits, all dispatched code responses (emergency), all motor vehicle accidents that require physical work and all calls which present an active threat to life and/or property.”24
The term critical incident used to be used to distinguish common exposures in the line of duty from exposures thought more likely to cause psychological problems.