Acute Stress2018-09-27T13:07:34+00:00

Acute Stress Disorder

Acute Stress Disorder

Acute Stress Disorder

Acute Stress Disorder is characterized by the development of severe anxiety, dissociative, and other symptoms that occurs within one month after exposure to an extreme traumatic stressor (e.g., witnessing a death or serious accident). As a response to the traumatic event, the individual develops dissociative symptoms. Individuals with Acute Stress Disorder have a decrease in emotional responsiveness, often finding it difficult or impossible to experience pleasure in previously enjoyable activities, and frequently feel guilty about pursuing usual life tasks.

A person with Acute Stress Disorder may experience difficulty concentrating, feel detached from their bodies, experience the world as unreal or dreamlike, or have increasing difficulty recalling specific details of the traumatic event (dissociative amnesia).

In addition, at least one symptom from each of the symptom clusters required for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder is present. First, the traumatic event is persistently re-experienced (e.g., recurrent recollections, images, thoughts, dreams, illusions, flashback episodes, a sense of reliving the event, or distress on exposure to reminders of the event). Second, reminders of the trauma (e.g., places, people, activities) are avoided. Finally, hyperarousal in response to stimuli reminiscent of the trauma is present (e.g., difficulty sleeping, irritability, poor concentration, hypervigilance, an exaggerated startle response, and motor restlessness).

Symptoms of Acute Stress Disorder:

Acute stress disorder is most often diagnosed when an individual has been exposed to a traumatic event in which both of the following were present:

  • The person experienced, witnessed, or was confronted with (e.g., can include learning of) an event or events that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others.
  • Though not required, the person’s  response is likely to involve intense fear, helplessness, or horror.

Either while experiencing or after experiencing the distressing event, the individual has 3 or more of the following dissociative symptoms:

  • A subjective sense of numbing, detachment, or absence of emotional responsiveness.
  • A reduction in awareness of his or her surroundings (e.g., “being in a daze”).
  • Derealization.
  • Depersonalization.
  • Dissociative amnesia (i.e., inability to recall an important aspect of the trauma)

The traumatic event is persistently re-experienced in at least one of the following ways: recurrent images, thoughts, dreams, illusions, flashback episodes, or a sense of reliving the experience; or distress on exposure to reminders of the traumatic event.

Treatment for Acute Stress Disorder:

Your doctor may use one or more of the following methods to treat ASD:

  • A psychiatric evaluation to determine your specific needs.
  • Hospitalization if you’re at risk of suicide or harming others.
  • Assistance in obtaining shelter, food, clothing, and locating family, if necessary.
  • Psychiatric education to teach you about your disorder.
  • Medication to relieve symptoms of ASD, such as anti-anxiety medications, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and antidepressants.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy, which may increase recovery speed prevent ASD from turning into PTSD.
  • Exposure-based therapies.
  • Hypnotherapy.

What is the outlook?

Many people with ASD are later diagnosed with PTSD. A diagnosis of PTSD is made if your symptoms persist for more than a month and cause a significant amount of stress and difficulty functioning.

Treatment may reduce your chances of developing PTSD. Approximately 50 percent of PTSD cases resolve within six months, whereas others may persist for years.

Symptoms of Acute Stress Disorder:

Acute stress disorder is most often diagnosed when an individual has been exposed to a traumatic event in which both of the following were present:

  • The person experienced, witnessed, or was confronted with (e.g., can include learning of) an event or events that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others.
  • Though not required, the person’s  response is likely to involve intense fear, helplessness, or horror.

Either while experiencing or after experiencing the distressing event, the individual has 3 or more of the following dissociative symptoms:

  • A subjective sense of numbing, detachment, or absence of emotional responsiveness.
  • A reduction in awareness of his or her surroundings (e.g., “being in a daze”).
  • Derealization.
  • Depersonalization.
  • Dissociative amnesia (i.e., inability to recall an important aspect of the trauma)

The traumatic event is persistently re-experienced in at least one of the following ways: recurrent images, thoughts, dreams, illusions, flashback episodes, or a sense of reliving the experience; or distress on exposure to reminders of the traumatic event.

 Treatment for Acute Stress Disorder:

Your doctor may use one or more of the following methods to treat ASD:

  • A psychiatric evaluation to determine your specific needs.
  • Hospitalization if you’re at risk of suicide or harming others.
  • Assistance in obtaining shelter, food, clothing, and locating family, if necessary.
  • Psychiatric education to teach you about your disorder.
  • Medication to relieve symptoms of ASD, such as anti-anxiety medications, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and antidepressants.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy, which may increase recovery speed prevent ASD from turning into PTSD.
  • Exposure-based therapies.
  • Hypnotherapy.

What is the outlook?

Many people with ASD are later diagnosed with PTSD. A diagnosis of PTSD is made if your symptoms persist for more than a month and cause a significant amount of stress and difficulty functioning.

Treatment may reduce your chances of developing PTSD. Approximately 50 percent of PTSD cases resolve within six months, whereas others may persist for years.