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Acute Stress Disorder


Acute Stress Disorder (ASD) is a disorder that develops in some people who experience a traumatic event. It involves many of the symptoms of PTSD but is much shorter lived. ASD symptoms include: re-experiencing symptoms (eg. Memories and flashbacks), dissociative symptoms (eg. Emotional “numbing”), and other anxiety symptoms.


To meet the official definition for Acute Stress Disorder symptoms must have lasted for more than 2 days, but less than 4 weeks. Where symptoms of ASD continue for more than 4 weeks a person will often go on to meet the official criteria for PTSD.


Treatments commonly used for ASD are very similar to those used in PTSD. One goal of treatment is to prevent the development of PTSD.


Nonetheless intensive psychological therapy too early may not always be helpful. In the first few days practical support is often most important. However if a person is very distressed, having thoughts of suicide or self harm, or is having difficulty functioning in daily life, then consulting a professional is recommended. Obviously if a person has thoughts of suicide or self-harm they should seek urgent assistance. Also, if symptoms persist well beyond the first few days it is worth consulting a GP or Mental Health Professional (eg. a psychologist, psychiatrist, or other mental health trained allied health professionals). If in doubt about whether to seek treatment you should consider an initial consultation to discuss your concerns.


For details how to find a therapist / psychologist near you with expertise in PTSD treatment

click here PTSD Psychologist / Therapist.


IMPORTANT NOTE: This page and this site describes general information about PTSD which may not apply to your situation. Information should NOT be used for diagnosis or treatment purposes. You should consult a GP, Clinical Psychologist, or other mental health professional for advice on your symptoms