Trauma-and Stressor-Related Disorders: Trauma & stress related disorders occur when an individual experiences significant distress following exposure to a traumatic or stressful event. Each person’s symptoms may manifest quite differently. Some experience a classic anxiety or fear-based response while others may feel they’re no longer able to experience positive emotions, others may experience dissociative symptoms (feeling detached from oneself/reality), and some may display angry and/or irritable behavior and/or a combination of many.
Such symptoms develop after being exposed to a traumatic or stressful event such as being in a life threatening situation, being physically assaulted or raped, seeing another person killed /dead or badly injured, or hearing about a traumatic event that occurred to a close family member or friend.
Trauma & Stress Disorders treated at The Maryland Anxiety Center:
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): PTSD occurs when a person has been exposed to a traumatic event or situation as described above and they subsequently develop distressing and life interfering symptoms that last more than 1 month such as:
- Recurrent & unwanted intrusive images & memories of the event
- Recurrent distressing dreams
- Dissociative reactions such as flashbacks
- Intense & prolonged psychological distress and/or physiological sensations when triggered by cues (internal or external) that remind them of the event
- Avoidance of distressing memories, thoughts & feelings about the event
- Avoidance of reminders of the event
- An inability to remember important aspects of the event, negative or exaggerated beliefs about oneself or the world, difficulty experiencing positive emotions, loss of interest in formerly pleasurable activities, irritable mood or angry outbursts, etc
- Increased physical arousal & hyper-vigilance
Acute Stress Disorder: The criteria and symptoms of acute stress disorder are similar to PTSD but typically begin immediately after the trauma, persist for at least 3 days but no more than 1 month. The onset of symptoms in PTSD may begin later and must last longer than 1 month to receive the diagnosis.
Adjustment Disorders: Adjustment disorders occur when a person develops emotional or behavioral distress in response to a life stressor within 3 months of the event or situation. The distress causes impairment in important areas of life functioning such as academic, social or occupational areas.