(DSM-V, 2013) These disorders are caused by exposure to a stressful or traumatic event. They have a close relationship and are often diagnosed with other disorders such as anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive and related disorders, and dissociative disorders. The most common characteristics of these disorders are the absence or ability to experience pleasure, an emotional state of anxiety, depression, or unease, outbursts of anger or aggression, or removal from association.  

Reactive Attachment Disorder

(DSM-V, 2013) Occurs during infancy or early childhood. The child or infant displays a pattern of disturbed and inappropriately developed attachments of behaviors. The child or infant will often not turn to an attachment figure for comfort, support, protection, and nurturance. When a caregiver attempts to comfort the child or infant, under distress, there is no positive expression of emotion displayed by the child of infant. There essentially is an underdeveloped connection between the child or infant and his or her caregivers.

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

(DSM-V, 2013) A development of symptoms after a single or multiple traumatic events. There is a variety of how the symptoms present themselves. Some prevalent symptoms an individual may experience are fear-based re-experiencing, emotional, and behavioral. An anhedonic or dysphoric mood state and a negative cognition may be troublesome in other individuals. Prominent symptoms of arousal and reactive-externalizing will exist in individuals whereas dissociative symptoms dominate. Lastly other individuals experience a combination of these symptoms. Some examples of traumatic events but not limited to are war, sexual assault, physical assault, threat of violence, mugging, kidnapping, terrorist attack, torture, and a variety of other events. 

Acute Stress Disorder: (DSM-V, 2013) It is the same as PTSD except it occurs only from 3 days to 1 month after being exposed to the traumatic event.

Adjustment Disorders

(DSM-V, 2013) A change in emotion or behavior because of an identifiable stressor or event. These disorders are associated with a higher risk of suicide and attempts. There are many possible stressors. It can be a single stressor (e.g., ending an intimate relationship), multiple stressors (e.g., business or marital problems), recurrent (e.g., seasonal business problems or an unsatisfying sexual relationship), or continuous (e.g., painful illness or a living in a crime filled neighborhood). These stressors may affect an individual, family or even a community (e.g., natural disaster) or co-inside with a developmental life event (e.g., going to school, getting married, having children, retirement).


Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V). Arlington, VA, American Psychiatric Association, 2013.