Merck Manual

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Overview of Trauma- and Stressor-Related Disorders


John W. Barnhill

, MD, New York-Presbyterian Hospital

Reviewed/Revised Aug 2023

Most psychiatric diagnoses are clustered by core symptomatology. Trauma- and stressor-related disorders are unusual because they are grouped by apparent etiology: all of these disorders develop after exposure to a traumatic or stressful event. They are often discussed in the context of anxiety disorders Overview of Anxiety Disorders Anxiety disorders are characterized by persistent and excessive fear and anxiety and the dysfunctional behavioral changes a patient may use to mitigate these feelings. Anxiety disorders are... read more , but the trauma- and stressor-related disorders may present with dysphoria, irritability, dissociation, substance use, or insomnia in addition to (or instead of) anxiety.

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition, Text Revision (DSM-5-TR) categorizes the following as trauma- and stressor-related disorders:

Acute stress disorder (ASD) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are similar except ASD typically begins immediately after the trauma and lasts from 3 days to 1 month, whereas PTSD may start either as a continuation of ASD or as a separate occurrence that begins a month or more after the trauma. It may also begin with delayed expression 6 months or more after the trauma. ASD and PTSD in children and adolescents Acute and Posttraumatic Stress Disorders (ASD and PTSD) in Children and Adolescents Acute stress disorder (ASD) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are reactions to traumatic events. The reactions involve intrusive thoughts or dreams, avoidance of reminders of the event... read more are discussed elsewhere.

NOTE: This is the Professional Version. CONSUMERS: View Consumer Version
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