disorder is a debilitating reaction, usually lasting less than six
months, to a stressful event or situation. The development of emotional
or behavioral symptoms in response to an identifiable stressor(s)
occurring within 3 months of the onset of the stressor(s).
or behaviors are clinically significant as evidenced by either of
Distress that is in excess of what would be expected from exposure
to the stressor.
Significant impairment in social, occupational or educational functioning.
The symptoms are not caused by Bereavement.
The stress-related disturbance does not meet the criteria for another
specific disorder. Once the stressor (or its consequences) has terminated,
the symptoms do not persist for more than an additional 6 months.
With Mixed Anxiety and Depressed Mood
With Disturbance of Conduct
With Mixed Disturbance of Emotions and Conduct
Some disorders display similar or sometimes even the same symptom.
The clinician, therefore, in his diagnostic attempt has to differentiate
against the following disorders which one needs to be ruled out to
establish a precise diagnosis.
Not Otherwise Specified Disorders (e.g.,
Anxiety Disorder Not Otherwise Specified);
Disorder, and Acute Stress
Psychological Factors Affecting Medical Condition; Bereavement;
Nonpathological Reactions to Stress.
Many people have
difficulties adjusting to stressful events. Stressful events include
starting a new job, ending an important relationship, or conflicts
with work colleagues. As a result, the individual may have difficulty
with his or her mood and behavior several months after the event.
There are as many different responses to stressful events as there
are stressful events. Some who have recently experienced a stressor
may be more sad or irritable than usual and feeling somewhat hopeless.
Others become more nervous and worried. And other individuals combine
these two emotional patterns. The symptoms associated with adjustment
difficulties usually subside within about 6 months after the stressful
Counseling and Psychotherapy [ See
Therapy Section ]:
The primary goals
of treatment are to relieve symptoms and assist with achieving a level
of adaptation that is comparable to the affected person's level of
functioning before the stressful event.
Most mental health professionals recommend a form of psychosocial
treatment for this disorder. Treatments include individual psychotherapy,
family therapy, behavior therapy, and self-help groups.
Pharmacotherapy [ See
Psychopharmacology Section ] :
Mental health professionals generally do not use medication to treat
this disorder. When medications are used, they are usually in addition
to other forms of treatment.
are less severe than other disorders. People with behavior disorders
are more likely to later develop antisocial personality disorder.
People with multiple psychiatric disorders are less likely to return
to a previous level of functioning.
Depression may develop if help is not obtained.