Last updated on June 8, 2019by
We’re on a mission to discover everything we can about Acute Stress Disorder! Feel like accompanying us?
There are many types of stressors in this chaotic world. You may feel as if you are losing a few of your marbles if you have not yet learned how to recognize the symptoms.
There is a myriad of situations and interactions which can lead to many stress responses in your body and mind. You‘re probably not even aware of most. This is where matters turn dangerous. As all of us know, stress is a silent killer…
AnxietyPanda will now take you through the details of a specific stress disorder named Acute Stress Disorder, also identified as Acute Stress Reaction.
What’s Acute Stress Disorder? Let’s have a peek!
Stress can be fatal and brought on by a plethora of reasons.
You will experience Acute Stress Disorder, specifically, after experiencing a severe traumatic situation.
* Witnessing the death of someone
* Experiencing a natural disaster
* Being in a major motor accident
* Any form of abuse
These are a few examples from a lengthy list of possible traumatic situations that may take place during your life.
They diagnose it once you have displayed the specific stress reactions for over 3 days and up to 1 month of the event taking place.
If the symptoms persist for over one month, the diagnosis results as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (P.T.S.D).
In short – Acute Stress Disorder sometimes precedes P.T.S.D and if not treated or dealt with, it may progress into P.T.S.D.
What are the signs and symptoms?
For a physician to diagnose this stress disorder, you must display at least three of the following acute stress disorder symptoms:
–> Dissociative symptoms
–> Recurring thoughts or dreams concerning the traumatic experience
–> Feelings of tremendous anxiety and distress
You will definitely experience some dissociative symptoms.
The presence of dissociative symptoms is another factor that differentiates acute stress disorder from a post-traumatic stress disorder.
When you experience dissociative symptoms it may feel as if you’re living in a dream, or as if you’re seeing yourself and your surroundings from the outside.
Your emotions don’t feel real or like your own.
Most times, you may also experience dissociative amnesia.
This causes you to not recall one or more specific aspects of the traumatic incident that took place.
Besides dissociative symptoms, you may have recurring dreams, thoughts or emotions about the traumatic event causing you to feel as if you are reliving the awful event
You could also experience heightened anxiety and distress which will lead to:
* Trouble sleeping
* Difficulty concentrating
* Physical symptoms such as trembling or sweaty palms
* Be tensed up and on your guard at all times.
You will occasionally feel irritable and lash out at people for no reason.
All these symptoms may also cause you to avoid situations that will cause you to re-experience or relive the traumatic event.
You might avoid:
* The people you identify with it
* Being in places similar to the place where the event was experienced
* Certain activities you were perhaps busy with when the event took place
How is this disorder diagnosed and treated?
Whatever you do, please don’t self-diagnose. There are many overlapping conditions with similar symptoms, and if you treat yourself for the wrong condition, you may end up making things worse.
Seek a diagnosis from your doctor or psychiatric health specialist if you suspect that you may be suffering from Acute stress disorder.
They are qualified and equipped to offer you an accurate diagnosis.
Think about it! You may suffer from a different type of stress and this could lead to incorrect treatment.
Okay, so they will ask you an assortment of questions about the circumstances and incidents around the traumatic event and also on the symptoms you are experiencing.
Further questions may be asked to rule out any other causes for the stress.
Here are examples of questions they may ask you:
- Are you distressed because you have experienced or witnessed a life-threatening event that caused you intense fear?
- Do you have problems sleeping?
- In the last year, has a substance abuse caused failure to fulfill any of your responsibilities?
Again, these are only example questions.
The list is extensive and will differ depending on each individual.
After the psychiatric assessment, your doctor may choose one or more of the following treatments:
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy – Applying this method of therapy will unquestionably enhance your recovery speed and will also assure that the disorder doesn’t continue into the PTSD development stage.
These methods of therapies will help you deal with your worries in a controlled and therapeutic atmosphere and will eventually lead to them becoming less severe and less stress-inducing.
Patient Education – Your doctor may choose to also educate you about your condition, the disorder and what is taking place in your head and body.
Education about the condition will lead to you having a better sense of what is transpiring and will heighten your chances of recovery.
You fear something more when you don’t understand it, right?
Medications – These include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s), benzodiazepines, hydrocortisone, propranolol, and even morphine.
AnxietyPanda does not encourage the use of medication and always recommend it as a last resort, but, it is essential for you to listen to your health care specialist’s recommendation.
Be certain to ask them for alternative treatment, should they not have suggested it to you before.
PTSD vs Acute Stress Disorder
The two are essentially the same disorder with both occurring as a response to a significant traumatic event or encounter.
The primary differences come in with the duration of each and the timing of the onset of each.
AnxietyPanda has highlighted a few differences for you:
The most important point to remember here is:
Although most of the time the two disorders occur in sequence following a traumatic event, it does not mean that ASD will lead to PTSD in all cases.
Both can be experienced independently and without the presence of the other.
Thanks for joining AnxietyPanda on this mission to discover what Acute Stress Disorder is!
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