Stress Disorder Symptoms & Treatment

Acute stress disorder (ASD) results after a person experiences or witnesses a traumatic event, such as death, or serious injury or accident. Those with ASD will develop severe anxiety, fear, depression and dissociation.

ASD is similar to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but the symptoms are short-term.

Patients with ASD may experience:

  • Numbness
  • Detachment
  • Lack of emotional response
  • Reduced sense of surroundings
  • Inability to remember parts of the trauma
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Anxiety

· Re-experiencing the traumatic event through recurring images, thoughts, dreams or flashbacks

Symptoms will persist for two days to four weeks after the traumatic event. If symptoms persist for longer than a month, the patient may instead be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Up to 80% of patients with acute stress disorder will develop PTSD if their condition is left untreated. Although similar in nature, it has a greater emphasis on dissociative symptoms that detach the patient from reality.

Treatment for acute stress disorder usually involves Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which aims to change the patterns of thought about the traumatic event and to alter the patient’s behavior in situations that cause anxiety. Undergoing CBT can also help this condition from developing into PTSD. Psychological debriefing, anxiety management groups and medication may also be prescribed to help treat acute stress disorder.

Symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Bad dreams
  • Flashbacks
  • Recurring scary thoughts
  • Feeling worried or guilty
  • Feeling alone
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Feeling restless
  • Feeling angry

If symptoms last for more than six months or get worse with time, you may be suffering from PTSD. These symptoms can be treated. Talk to your doctor about a treatment plan best suited for you.