Disorders and Their Symptomatic, Behavioral Manifestations


A. Mood/Anxiety Disorders

Major Depression and Bipolar   -   Mood swings, insomnia, impaired concentration, sad, withdrawn, fatigued.

Generalized Anxiety   -   Irritability, hyper-vigilance, startled response, poor concentration, insomnia, unrealistic worry.

Phobias   -   Avoidance behaviors triggered by environment or social stimuli (most common - simple phobias, social phobia, agoraphobia)

Panic Disorder   -   Choking, numbness, tingling, fear of going crazy, fear of dying.

Sleep Disorder   -   Common with unresolved trauma in connection with arousal or sympathetic nervous system, often exacerbates other disorders

Anger or Explosive Disorder   -   The psychic pain of trauma can generate anger on the level of rage and the behavioral problems often associated with rage. The deeper the violation, the more intense the rage. 


B. Mental/Cognitive Functioning

Attention Deficit Disorder   -   Forgetful, confused, difficulty learning from experience, problems with concentration, easily distracted

Thought Disorder (Schizophrenic-like Disorder)   -   Chaotic, disorganized, loose associations, loss of contact with reality.

Dementia   -   Decline in cognitive functioning with interference from intrusive trauma symptoms

Dissociation   -   Rapid changes in personality, rapid age regression, amnesia, third person references, daze or trance states, time loss, vivid images. 


C. Physical or Medical Disorders

Somatization Disorders   -   Broad spectrum of physical and medical complaints   

Migraine Headache   -   Because of its frequency, intensity and disabling features, it is given distinction as a somatic disorder   

D. Behavioral Disorders

Chemical Abuse/Dependency   -   Drug and alcohol abuse is frequently co-morbid with PTSD both for self-medication and as a result of the substance abuse lifestyle the leads to traumatic experiences

Addictive Behaviors   -   Because of the anxiety generated by PTSD and the coping problems it creates, addictions are highly correlated with post-trauma conditions.

Eating Disorders   -   Preoccupation with food is common with unresolved trauma. Food is a readily available form of self-medication. Because of control issues Bulimia, Anorexia Nervosa and other food addictions can result.

Self-Destructive Behaviors   -   Because of the intensity of intra-psychic emotional forces associated with childhood sexual abuse in particular, self-mutilation needs to be addressed.

Conduct/Personality Disorders   -   Lying, inappropriate sexual behavior, aggression, explosive temper, self-mutilation


E. Interpersonal Problems

Relationship Problems   -   Common with trauma survivors for several reasons. They are often fearful, ashamed, have low self-esteem, and an inability to trust. Difficulty with self-assertion. Marital problems and staying with abusive partners. 

Paranoia   -   Early trauma contributes to being overly suspicious, fears of being harmed, constantly looking over their shoulder.