Acute Stress Disorder

Acute Stress Disorder

Acute Stress Disorder

Acute stress disorder (ASD) is a mental health condition that occurs after a traumatic event. It is a less severe form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

ASD can be treated with psychotherapy and medication, which is typically delivered by a psychiatrist or psychologist. Some cases of acute stress disorder may require brief hospitalization if the person is at risk of harming themselves or others.

facts about acute stress disorder

  • Acute stress disorder (ASD) is a mental health condition that develops in up to one-third of people who experience a traumatic event.
  • These events may include a school shooting, car accident, natural disaster, death, or other life-threatening situation.
  • ASD usually develops within one month of the traumatic event. It is less severe and more brief than posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Acute stress disorder symptoms can include flashbacks, nightmares, difficulty sleeping, avoidance, withdrawal, and other impairments that cause trouble with daily life.
  • Treatment can minimize the symptoms and prevent ASD from turning into PTSD, a long-term and more serious mental illness.

causes of (ASD)

Acute stress disorder is caused by an individual’s experience of a traumatic event. People are at higher risk for developing acute stress disorder if they have a previous history of mental illness, perceive the traumatic event as severe or recurrent, have an avoidant coping style when experiencing distress, or have been exposed to a number of traumatic events in their lives.

Acute stress symptoms typically last three days to one month after exposure to a traumatic event, and they cause significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

Doctors check to see whether these symptoms could be caused by a physical injury or drug/substance use.

Symptoms of acute stress disorder

Traumatic experiences like experiencing or witnessing violence, serious illness, natural disasters, and more can cause acute stress disorder. About a third of people who experience such events will develop this condition.

(ASD) can last for a minimum of three days and no longer than one month after the trauma occurs. Symptoms of this condition include flashbacks, nightmares, and feeling numb or detached from yourself and your surroundings.

When a threat is perceived, your body automatically responds with the fight-or-flight response, which includes adrenalin production and other hormones, an accelerated heart rate, breathing that feels shallower, and muscles that tense up. When you’re feeling threatened, it’s important to get help so you can better deal with your distress and work through it on your own.

Are There Effective Treatments for ASD?

Acute stress disorder is a type of anxiety disorder that develops after a traumatic event. It lasts for a few days to a month and is similar to symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The first step in treating acute stress disorder is to treat it early so that the person doesn’t go on to develop PTSD. This may be done through medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of both.

Behavioral approaches are often used in these treatments, such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). These programs focus on changing behaviors by understanding what happens before and after the behavior occurs. They are especially effective in children but can be used with older children as well. These programs also emphasize social skills, communication, and independent living.


Acute stress disorder is a psychiatric condition that develops in people who have experienced, witnessed, or learned about an extremely traumatic event. These events can include being in a car accident, witnessing a bombing, sexual assault or seeing someone die.

Anyone can get acute stress disorder, but it’s more common if you’ve been through a trauma before or have PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

A doctor or mental health professional will look at your symptoms to see if they meet the diagnostic criteria for acute stress disorder.

They might do a physical exam to make sure your symptoms aren’t from medication side effects or another health problem and will also perform a psychiatric evaluation to confirm the diagnosis. Then, they can provide treatment for the symptoms.

References: National Center for PTSD, Healthline, Medscape.

Mental Health - Mind Detox
Mental Health – Mind Detox






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