Acute stress disorder occurs the first month after experiencing a traumatic event that involved actual or threatened injury or death. The death of a loved one, violent assault, rape, car accident, and natural disasters are examples of traumatic experiences that cause an emotional response. Those who develop acute stress disorder have a more severe reaction that includes deep anxiety and dissociative symptoms. Though acute stress disorder sometimes resolves within 1 month, if symptoms continue, it may progress and become post-traumatic stress disorder.
Patients with acute stress disorder often develop dissociative symptoms. To be diagnosed with this disorder, 3 symptoms of dissociation must be present, including memory loss, a sense of being detached from thoughts and feelings, and feeling that your surroundings aren’t real.
People with acute stress disorder may feel numb and unable to feel emotions, so they no longer enjoy their usual activities. They may also feel guilty for engaging in normal life. Many with acute stress disorder continue to relive the event through flashbacks, nightmares, or reminders of the trauma. Other common symptoms include difficulty sleeping, irritability, restlessness, and an exaggerated reaction to sudden noise or movement.
Since people expect to be emotionally upset following a traumatic event, they often figure the symptoms will eventually get better. As a result, they don’t seek help, increasing the risk for developing post-traumatic stress disorder or ongoing anxiety disorders. If you or someone you know has recently experienced any type of traumatic event, contact RobinsPsych. They’re here to help with your immediate post-trauma needs, and to begin therapy when you’re ready.
After the medical experts at RobinsPsych assess your symptoms, you’ll know whether your distress level is normal or whether you’ll benefit from therapy. The medical experts at RobinsPsych are experienced in many types of talk and alternative therapies. They also specialize in the treatment that’s most effective for acute stress disorder: cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). In addition to relieving the symptoms of acute stress disorder, CBT often prevents it from progressing to post-traumatic stress disorder.
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