Because Experience Matters Contact Us

What Defines A Trauma Disorder?

Cutter Hall Karlock, LLC April 14, 2021

When looking at the possibility of applying for Social Security disability insurance, you are not limited to physical disabilities. In fact, many people across the state file for disabilities for mental health disorders, too.

Trauma disorders exist as one category of mental health issues potentially eligible for benefits. But what defines a trauma disorder?

Qualifications for Trauma- or Stressor-Related Disorders

Social Security sets guidelines that separate and define different mental disorders. Trauma and stressor-related disorders make up one of these categories. However, only one disorder gets noted by name: post-traumatic stress disorder. The guidelines also mention adjustment-like disorders that have an extended duration without the stressor actually being present. Finally, they mention “other specified trauma- and stressor-related disorders”.

Needless to say, this leaves plenty of room for interpretation. In general, to qualify, your trauma- or stressor-related disorder must involve at least some of the following symptoms:

  • Distressing dreams, flashbacks or memories

  • Diminished interest or participation in significant activities

  • Avoidant behavioral patterns

  • The inability to experience positive emotion

  • Persistent negative emotional states

  • Exaggerated startle response

  • Sleep disturbances and trouble concentrating

The Onset and Aftermath

In general, a stressor or trauma related disorder also stems from the experience or witnessing of a traumatic event. You may also experience this disorder if you learn of such an event happening to a close friend or relative.

The aftermath of this experience or knowledge then goes on to have a significant impact on the way you interact with the world and your ability to function on a daily basis. It is the latter that often qualifies sufferers to apply for disability benefits as they work through their trauma.