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What Is Acute Stress Disorder? Causes, Symptoms, and Diagnosis

by shree kulkarni 9 months ago in health
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All About Acute Stress, Signs of acute stress - Mental Health Disorders

Acute stress disorder (ASD) is persistent stress that occurs within a month after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event such as death, serious injury, or attack. Symptoms can include a negative mood, intrusive thoughts and flashbacks, avoiding situations associated with the event, and feeling on high alert.

This article discusses the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of ASA.


According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM5), the manual used by psychiatrists to diagnose mental disorders, the symptoms of acute stress disorder are classified into the categories of intrusion, negative mood, dissociation, avoidance, and excitement.

Symptoms of an intrusion

  • Recurrent memories of the event that are involuntary and distressing
  • Dreams related to the event recur
  • Memories
  • Reactions to the event that cause intense distress
  • Mood: Negative
  • Positive emotion cannot be experienced because of a negative mood

Symptoms of dissociation

  • Changed perception of surroundings, such as feeling dazed or slowing down
  • It is difficult to recall important details of the event due to amnesia
  • Symptoms associated with avoided situations
  • Preventing the memory and thoughts of the event from becoming upsetting
  • Stay away from anyone, place, or situation that triggers memories of the event

Symptoms of arousal

  • Sleeping problems
  • Aggression and irritability
  • Feeling on high alert or hypervigilance
  • Concentration problems
  • Increased startle response

Factors of risk

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  • Psychological responses following a traumatic event are normal, but many individuals seem to recover completely within a few days.
  • Acute stress disorder can be caused by certain risk factors. It is possible to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) if those symptoms persist longer than a month.
  • ASD and PTSD risk factors can be broken down into trauma itself, pre-trauma factors, and post-trauma factors.
  • Acute stress disorder is more likely to occur in the case of severe trauma, serious bodily injury, or mass trauma. People with a history of trauma, or with a diagnosis of mood or anxiety disorders, are more likely to develop ASD.
  • In addition to trauma, a lack of social support or an environment of blame can also increase the risk of ASD.

You Can Get Help

If you or a loved one suffers from acute stress disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.

For more mental health resources, see National Helpline Database.

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  • The diagnosis of an acute stress disorder is based, like that of other psychiatric illnesses, on the criteria listed in the DSM5.
  • According to diagnostic criteria, ASD is diagnosed if a person has nine or more of the symptoms listed above, which appear and disappear within a month of experiencing or witnessing trauma, and lasts for more than two days.
  • The trauma experience could be suffering an injury or assault, witnessing trauma for someone else, or a traumatic event for a family member or close friend.
  • Trauma can also occur through repeated contact with details of traumatic events at a job, such as first responders or police officers.

Acute Stress Disorder Prevalence

The prevalence of ASD varies depending on the severity and type of trauma. It is believed that 6 to 50% of people exposed to trauma are affected, depending on the specific type of trauma.


  • The primary treatment modality for acute stress disorder includes a variety of trauma-focused psychotherapies, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).people with ASD can also benefit from the social support of their loved ones and community resources.
  • The benefit of ASD medications is currently unclear, although they may be helpful if symptoms persist for more than a month, as in post-traumatic stress disorder. Certain medications can help control anxiety symptoms associated with ASD.

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About the author

shree kulkarni

Always I wanted to do what I want now I am finally here to share my stories,Idea and my creative content with you.Also I am totally aware of health and fitness, products and its review so you can make right choices.Here I started my journey

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