Acute Stress Disorder

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Living with a psychological problem is not easy and returning to the normal metal state is necessary to live a better life. An acute stress disorder is a major mental illness that must be cured timely to avoid permanent mental damage. Here are symptoms, causes, treatments, and more. Please continue reading if this topic interests you.

What is Acute Stress Disorder?

People may suffer from anxiety disorder weeks after a traumatic event. This kind of anxiety disorder is known as acute stress disorder (ASD). Usually, ASD occurs within a month of a traumatic event and lasts from three days to one month. Some of its symptoms are similar to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

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What Causes Acute Stress Disorder?

Acute stress disorder is mostly caused due to witnessing, experiencing, and hearing about a traumatic incident. Due to the effects of that event, the affected person gets too much scarred or feel hopeless. The following incidents or the fear of such incidents often causes ASD:

  • Death
  • Serious injury
  • Loss of integrity

What Increases the Risk of Acute Stress Disorder?

The following risk factors increase the chances of developing acute stress disorder:

  • A history of PTSD or ASD
  • A history of traumatic incidents
  • A history of certain types of mental problems
  • A history of dissociative symptoms during traumatic happenings

Symptoms of Acute Stress Disorder

Common symptoms of ASD have been enlisted below:

Dissociative symptoms

The people with ASD mostly have three or more of the dissociative symptoms mention below:

  • Emotions or thought seem unreal
  • Feeling emotionally detached and numb
  • A reduced awareness of the surroundings
  • The environment seems unreal or strange
  • Forgetting some important aspects of the traumatic incident

Re-experiencing the traumatic event

Some people with ASD may keep recalling the traumatic incident in the following ways:

  • Feeling like that traumatic incident is happening again
  • Feeling like that that traumatic incident has not ended
  • Feeling uncomfortable when someone reminds of that shocking event
  • Having nightmares, thoughts, illusions, or flashbacks of that hurtful incident

Avoiding Acute Stress Disorder

By avoiding the stimuli that remind of that sad incident, one can avoid ASD. The stimuli can be:

  • Places
  • People
  • Objects
  • Feelings
  • Activities
  • Thoughts
  • Conversations

Anxiety or Increased Arousal

The people with ASD may experience increased arousal or anxiety. If this happens, the symptoms can be:

  • Being irritable
  • Having trouble sleeping
  • Not being able to concentrate
  • Becoming startled abnormally
  • Being constantly stressed or sad
  • Not being able to stop moving the body

Distress due to ASD

The work and personal life of the person with ASD gets badly affected. It happens because the affected person feels difficulty in starting and completing routine tasks.

Diagnosing Acute Stress Disorder

The person having symptoms of ASD should visit a mental health professional for diagnosis. The psychiatrist will ask questions and symptoms to suggest a suitable treatment. Often symptoms occur due to the following:

  • Drug abuse
  • Health problems
  • Side effects of medications
  • Other psychiatric disorders

Treating Acute Stress Disorder

In general, the mental health experts make use of one or more of the following to cure ASD:

  • Hypnotherapy
  • A psychiatric evaluation
  • Exposure-based therapies
  • Help with relocation with family
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Hospitalization to avoid harm to others
  • Keeping under supervision to avoid self-harm
  • Training to help patient understand the condition
  • Medication (anti-anxiety medications, SSRIs, antidepressants

What is The Long-Term Outlook?

ASD can become PTSD if symptoms persist for a month. If it happens, the person may start experiencing an increased amount of difficulty and stress. Timely diagnosis and treatment of ASD can prevent a bigger trouble. PTSD takes more time to end; it can take six months to years. So the timely treatment of ASD is important.

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Can I Prevent Acute Stress Disaster?

It is not possible to prevent ASD because traumatic incidents keep happening. Whereas, the likelihood of developing ASD can be reduced by taking some precautionary measures. Taking professional help right after the traumatic incident can reduce the likelihood of developing ASD.

Some people work at a place (war zones) where the occurrence of traumatic incidents is common. The people working at such places should be prepared to face traumatic events. Such organizations should also provide counseling sessions to workers so that they do not develop ASD if a traumatic event occurs.

Please feel free to book an appointment if you want to learn more.

Acute Stress Disorder FAQ’s

What are 5 symptoms of acute stress?

Most common symptoms of acute stress disorder include unreal thoughts, feeling emotionally detached, poor focus, sleep disturbances, and angry outbursts.

What is the difference between acute stress disorder and PTSD?

Acute stress disorder refers to initial symptoms after trauma whereas, PTSD refers to the long-lasting problems after the trauma. PTSD can also develop ever if there are no ASD symptoms.

How is acute stress disorder diagnosed?

A mental health professional may ask about the symptoms he/she is experiencing. ASD will be diagnosed if the person has developed nine or more symptoms in 1 month after the event has happened.

What can excessive stress do to your body?

Chronic stress can lead to life-threatening problems. Stress can weaken your immune system, upset your reproductive and digestive system, increase risk of heart attack, and can make you look older.

How do you stop acute stress?

Acute stress can be stopped with the help of mindfulness techniques, medications, becoming socially active. Community support can also help a person get out of acute stress

Book an Appointment Now

If you have symptoms of stress disorder, you should consult one of our psychiatrists. If you need to know, feel free to get in touch with an expert at the Euromed Clinic Center Dubai. Call us or fill the short online form to book your appointment with an expert.


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