Trauma- and stressor-related disorders develop in the aftermath of a traumatic event. They share many features, including dysphoria (general unease or dissatisfaction), irritability, dissociation (disconnection of some aspects of mental functioning from one's sense of self without conscious awareness), substance use, or insomnia. They differ in the severity and duration of symptoms.
Posttraumatic stress disorder lasts for more than 1 month. It may develop as a continuation of acute stress disorder or develop separately up to 6 months after the event.
Acute stress disorder typically begins immediately after the traumatic event and lasts from 3 days to 1 month.
Adjustment disorders are reactions to stressful events that may be common developmental milestones (for example, becoming a parent), or more disruptive occurrences of variable duration (for example, losing a job, caring for a disabled family member, or suffering a romantic setback) that cause distress out of proportion to the stressful event and lead to difficulties with everyday functioning. Adjustment disorders tend to develop shortly after the stressful event and persist less than 6 months; adjustment disorder symptoms can persist indefinitely, however, if there is persistent stress (such as the ongoing illness of a family member or chronic unemployment).
Although depression Depression Depression is a feeling of sadness and/or a decreased interest or pleasure in activities that becomes a disorder when it is intense enough to interfere with functioning. It may follow a recent... read more and anxiety Overview of Anxiety Disorders Anxiety is a feeling of nervousness, worry, or unease that is a normal human experience. It is also present in a wide range of mental health conditions, including generalized anxiety disorder... read more are often prominent in people with trauma- and stressor-related disorders, they often have a wide variety of symptoms that may not seem to be related to the traumatic event in any obvious way. For example, people may act aggressively, be unable to experience pleasure, and/or feel restless, discontented, angry, numb, or disconnected from themselves and others.
The following English-language resource may be useful. Please note that THE MANUAL is not responsible for the content of this resource.
National Institutes of Mental Health, Trauma: General information on the nature of trauma, including healthy ways to cope with it, crisis lines, and educational programs