Trauma- and stress-related disorders: Pathology review
Trauma- and stress-related disorders are a group of mental health conditions that can occur as a result of exposure to traumatic or stressful events. This group of disorders includes post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), acute stress disorder, adjustment disorders, and reactive attachment disorder.
Both PTSD and acute stress disorder can affect individuals who have experienced prolonged traumatic events, especially involving a close family member or friend. Symptoms include recurrent, involuntary, and intrusive memories associated with nightmares or flashbacks; as well as intense psychological distress or physical reactions. People with these two disorders can also present with hypervigilance or hyperarousal; avoidance behavior; and negative alterations in thinking or mood. What differentiates PTSD from acute stress disorder is that in PTSD, the symptoms must last for more than one month, while in acute stress disorder, they should last at least three days but less than one month following the traumatic event.
Next, we have adjustment disorder, which is characterized by emotional or behavioral symptoms in response to a stressor or life change. Symptoms typically develop within three months of a stressful or life-changing event and resolve within six months. There is also reactive attachment disorder, which typically affects infants or young children who don't get attached to their caregivers. The symptoms appear following the lack of adequate care or negligence and are often evident in young children between the age of nine months and five years. Treatment of trauma and stress-related disorders typically includes cognitive behavioral therapy and lifestyle changes. It can also involve medications like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs).
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