All You Should Know About Acute Traumatic Stress Disorder
Acute Traumatic Stress Disorder also referred as acute stress disorder (ASD) is an emotional response which is the consequence of a single dangerous or emotionally threatening event.
It is usually seen in people within 20-30 days after the occurrence of distressing or a traumatic event, usually observed by the development of panic attacks and severe anxiety. Lasting of acute trauma varies from at least 3 days to 30 days. Emotional responsiveness is declined, studies suggest 33% of people who go through a distressing event also experience acute traumatic stress disorder.
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When to suspect yourself for having an Acute Stress Disorder?
You might have acute stress disorder if you have persistence of three or more of the symptoms given below:
- Sleep disturbance i.e. hypersomnia (increased amount of sleep), insomnia (decreased amount of sleep).
- Irritable behavior and angry flare-ups (with little or no provocation), typically
expressed as verbal or physical aggression toward people or objects.
- Problems with concentration.
- Exaggerated startle response.
- Numbness / emotional unresponsiveness.
Reduced consciousness of your surroundings.
- Recurrent, unconscious, and intrusive upsetting memories of the traumatic event.
- Recurrent upsetting Nightmares in which the content or consequence of the dream is related to the traumatic event.
- Dissociative reactions (i.e. nostalgias and flashbacks) in which you might acts or feel as if the traumatic event is happening again.
- Strong or continued mental suffering or clear physiological responses in reaction to internal or external indications that signify or bear a resemblance to an aspect of the traumatic event.
- Inability to stop moving or sitting still
- Persistently being tense
- constantly grieved
- Persistent failure to experience optimistic emotions.
- Mood swings
- Efforts to avoid upsetting memories, feelings, or beliefs about or closely
related to the traumatic event.
- Efforts to avoid outside reminders that arouse upsetting memories, feelings, or
Thoughts about or closely related to the traumatic event.
- A changed sense of the reality of your environments or your own self.
- Failure to recall the essential aspects of the traumatic event.
- Depersonalization, i.e. when your emotions seem unreal.
- Derealisation, i.e. when your surroundings seem strange or imaginary.
- Constant feeling of detachment even from your utmost beloved stuff / people.
If you are going through the period of acute trauma you will persistently get the flash backs of traumatic event, as feeling upset when something jogs your memory about the traumatic event, having recurrent images, hallucinations, illusions, nightmares or nostalgias of the traumatic event. Feeling like you’re experiencing the traumatic event again.
Undergoing, watching, or being provoked with one or more traumatic events can give rise to Acute stress disorder. Traumatic events that can cause ASD includes:
- Death of a loved one
- Threat of serious injury
- Black mailing
- Natural disasters, such as floods, fires or earthquakes
- Receiving a life-threatening diagnosis
- Mental or physical torture
- Threat to the physical integrity
Your general mental healthcare provider or doctor will diagnose acute traumatic Stress Disorder by asking you questions about the stressful event and your symptoms. It is also important to find out other possible causes like:
- Health issues
- Adverse effects of medicines
- Drug abuse
- Other psychological disorders
Physical Effects of ASD:
- Palpitations i.e. sudden increase of heart beat
- Difficulty in breathing i.e. shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Stomach pain
- Headache / Migraine
- Sickness / Nausea
When you should seek treatment?
You are always advised to seek support or medical / psychological treatment if you have increased levels of the symptoms given below:
- Abnormal heart rhythms
- Chest pain
- Extreme level of dependence upon others
- Higher levels of stress
- Eating disorders
- Several Panic attacks during a same day
- Persistent depression
- Behavioral deficits / tantrums
- Sleep disturbances (for example, night terrors, nightmares, insomnia, hypersomnia)
- Significant decline in performance or poor grades
- Self-injurious behaviors
- Threats to self or others
- Suicidal tendency
Available treatments for Acute traumatic Distress Disorder:
Your health care provider may use one or more of the following methods to treat ASD:
- Support in finding shelter, clothing, food, and basic stuff of daily use if necessary.
- A psychological assessment to find out your current mental situation and particular needs.
- Psychological awareness to demonstrate you about your disorder.
- Exposure-based therapies to help you getting exposed and interacting to your environment and circumstances in the same way, you used to do before having ASD
- Medication to relieve symptoms of Acute Stress Disorder, such as anti anxiety medicines, anti depressants, Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) which may increase recovery speed and prevent ASD from turning into Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- Hospitalization if you’re at having a suicidal tendency or have a potential risk of harming others.
- Hypnotherapy to create a state of focused attention and increased openness during which positive counselling and guided imagery are used to assist individuals in order to deal with a variety of concerns and problems.
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