Mental disturbances


Trauma-related disorders and stressors are a relatively recent category in the DSM that refer to disorders, traditionally belonging to anxiety disorders, caused by traumatic events.

Among these disorders we have some that are well known, such as PTSD, and others associated with dysfunctional attachment or personality traits.

Next we will see more in detail this category of such a long title, in addition to its history and its disorders.

Trauma-related disorders and stressors: characteristics

Trauma-related disorders and stressors are a group of mental disorders in which exposure to a traumatic or highly stressful event is one of their main diagnostic criteria.

Currently, a stressor is understood as any stressor that disturbs a person's normal physiological, cognitive, behavioral or emotional balance. The origin of this stressor may be of a different nature, and may be physical, economic, social or psychological.

For its part, a traumatic factor is any event that may cause serious damage to the physical and psychological integrity of the person, whether in the form of a death threat, serious harm, or sexual violence, both in that person and in a family member. or close friend.

Disorders in this category produce a high personal, economic and social cost. On a personal level, they cause discomfort, suffering and a series of post-traumatic consequences so severe that they can leave a person marked for life. Regarding economics, disorders related to trauma and stress factors entail great expenses for state institutions and companies, given that those who suffer them request long-term leave and disability pensions.

From a social point of view, disorders in this category have caused great concern. This has been especially so in the western world in the last two decades as a result of events as traumatic at the historical level as have been 9/11, 9/11 and other attacks, both by Islamists and by separatist paramilitary groups (p. eg ETA, IRA and pro-Crimean militias).

This is why developed countries, especially Western Europe and the United States, have designed and implemented programs to reduce the incidence of these disorders and mitigate their consequences.

You may also be interested in reading as a related article:


Since the publication of the fifth edition of the DSM (2013), disorders related to trauma and stress factors have had their own specific section, being formally separated from anxiety disorders, and establishing themselves as one of the major groups of psychiatric disorders .

As for the other major classification system for mental disorders, these disorders already had their own separate group, since the ICD-10 was published in 1992, only here they are called severe stress reactions and adjustment disorders.

They can also be found, in part, in the personality disorders section of the ICD-10 itself. There, the existence of so-called persistent personality transformations after catastrophic experience (TPP) is recognized, in which the aftermath of a traumatic event is so devastating that it even manifests itself decades after being exposed to the traumatic event. In order to be diagnosed, the event must have been so extreme that personal vulnerability was not required to explain the profound effect on personality.

Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)

Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) arises at approximately 5 years, with the main feature being a socially distorted ability to relate and not properly developed in most contexts.

Among the general characteristics that we can find in this disorder, we have poor social or emotional reactions to others, very limited expressions of positive affect and episodes of irritability, sadness or fear for no apparent reason or reason.

Children who manifest stress disorder have been victims of some extreme pattern of insufficient care at some point in their lives. Whether due to neglect or social deprivation, they have not had their basic emotional needs covered, preventing the child from growing up feeling safe.