Trauma- and Stressor-related Disorders involve exposure to a traumatic or stressful event. They are a group of emotional and behavioural problems that may result from childhood or more recent traumatic and stressful experiences. Traumatic and stressful experiences can include exposure to physical or emotional violence or pain, including abuse, neglect or family conflict.

Many people get hung up on the word disorder because it seems to suggest something is inherently wrong with them. This is stigmatising yourself because of a mental problem beyond your control. If you are one of these people, try not to become overly concerned with the word "disorder," or the words that form diagnostic labels. Doctors use diagnostic labels as a form of descriptive shorthand that rapidly communicates a set of symptoms.

Failing to face traumatic experiences and not managing stress properly can lead to more serious problems in the future.

Trauma and stressor-related disorders include:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Acute stress disorder (ASD).
  • Reactive attachment disorder (RAD).
  • Unclassified and unspecified trauma disorders.
  • Adjustment disorders.

Trauma- and Stressor-related Disorders in children

Children are often affected by trauma as well, it is important that you take note of any changes in your child’s behaviour or even a sudden negative change in their school grades. If you or your child have recently gone through a traumatic experience, it is important to seek help and support.

Stress and trauma can impact your health beyond these five types of emotional disorders. Dr Michelle Vlok-Barnard has a special interest in mood disorders, as well as trauma- and stressor-related disorders. You can be assured that you are in good hands and are receiving the best treatment.