We evaluate the association between subtypes of early life stress (ELS; sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, physical neglect, and emotional neglect) and psychiatric disorders in adults. The sample was composed of 81 adult psychiatric patients treated at the Day Hospital Unit in Brazil. The patients were assessed using the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview according to diagnostic criteria of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition. The presence of ELS was confirmed by the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire, which investigates abuse and neglect subtypes. The patients were also evaluated for the severity of psychiatric symptoms through self-report questionnaires. A total of 71.6% of the patients experienced some type of severe ELS compared with 28.4% of the patients without ELS. Of these, 55.5% reported having experienced emotional abuse; 48.1%, physical neglect; 45.7%, emotional neglect; 39.5%, physical abuse; and 27.2%, sexual abuse. Our data showed that, among the ELS subtypes, emotional abuse was positively associated with psychopathology in adults, particularly with mood disorders (p < 0.05). The patients with a history of emotional abuse had higher severity scores in all symptoms, such as depression, hopelessness, suicidal ideation, anxiety, and impulsivity. These data demonstrate the impact of ELS, especially in cases of emotional abuse, as a trigger for psychiatric disorders and indicate that the severity of ELS is associated with severity of psychiatric symptoms. Therefore, further studies are needed to assess the importance of emotional abuse as a risk factor of severe psychopathology in adults.