Acute Stress Disorder
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Although similar to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), acute stress disorder (ASD) is different in some fundamental ways. Both disorders develop in the wake of the patient experiencing trauma, either directly or as a witness. However, acute stress disorder symptoms develop within one month of the trauma, where PTSD can take years to fully develop. Symptoms of acute stress disorder includes dissociative symptoms as well; the prolonged periods of unreality and being detached from reality can be disturbing for anyone, let alone an adolescent.

ASD can be profoundly disruptive to a teen’s life, fundamentally altering his or her ability to function normally. At Rancho San Diego, Sovereign Health’s residential treatment center, adolescents can be guided back into a normal healthy life by our staff of compassionate experts.

About Acute Stress Disorder

Fundamentally a stress response, ASD develops within one month after a person was subjected to or witnessed a traumatic event. These events can include accidents, deaths and assaults. People with ASD experience many of the same symptoms as a person with PTSD does, such as intense anxiety, survivor’s guilt, and a desire to avoid places, people and things with which they associate trauma. Some patients experience hyperarousal when faced with reminders of the trauma. They become easily startled, have difficulty sleeping and lose the ability to concentrate.

Additional acute stress disorder symptoms include persistent flashbacks. These are powerful, recurrent and vivid recollections of the traumatic event. Flashbacks can include mental images, thoughts, a sensation of physically reliving the event and intense feelings of anxiety when exposed to things that remind them of the trauma.

However, people with ASD also experience dissociative effects. Perhaps better understood as detachment, it’s what makes ASD chiefly different from PTSD. Patients with ASD feel emotionally detached from their life and emotionally numb. The world may seem unreal, and some patients also experience dissociative amnesia, which makes recalling precise details of the traumatic event difficult.

Symptoms of Acute Stress Disorder

According to the National Center for PTSD, signs of ASD include:

  • Feelings of numbness
  • Feeling emotionally dead
  • Reduced awareness of surroundings
  • Having problems remembering specific details of the traumatic event

Red Flags of Acute Stress Disorder

  • Experiencing flashbacks of the traumatic event
  • Having unwanted thoughts, mental imagery and nightmares about the traumatic event
  • Avoiding places, people and things that are associated with trauma
  • Hyperarousal: Sleep difficulties, constant tension, problems with concentration and irritability
  • Experiencing intense anxiety and fear

What Causes Problems With Acute Stress Disorder?

ASD is a serious disorder which can make daily life impossible to manage. Like PTSD, the disorder both prevents patients from coping with the trauma itself while causing severe impairment of function at school and home. Teens with ASD seem detached and foggy at some times and intensely agitated and frightened at others. The disorder also affects sleep and concentration. More worryingly, teens – and adults – with ASD often turn toward substance abuse in order to find temporary relief from their symptoms.

The combination of a mental disorder such as ASD and substance abuse is known as a dual diagnosis. It’s a particularly challenging condition to treat, requiring treatment providers to address both disorders’ physical and mental symptoms.

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Getting Treatment for Acute Stress Disorder

Witnessing or being subject to trauma is bad enough; having one’s life upended because of a mental disorder that developed in its wake is even worse. Sovereign Health knows the difficulties untreated ASD can cause, especially in younger patients. Our acute stress disorder treatment center in Rancho San Diego offers teens a safe, secure and welcoming place to meet their challenges and move past them into a healthier life.

Trauma and the resulting problems it creates aren’t the fault of our patients, and Rancho San Diego isn’t a reform school. Residential acute stress disorder treatment is one of the strongest tools available to treat serious mental health and substance abuse disorders in younger patients – they can live in a rehabilitation community with others dealing with the same challenges. Free of distractions and triggers, Rancho San Diego is a pleasant, summer camp-style facility with around-the-clock crisis intervention.

Sovereign Health makes use of both evidence-based traditional treatment methods along with alternative therapies like yoga to treat our patients in both body and mind. Our patients attend both group and individual therapy along with participating in life-enriching activities such as art and equine therapy. It’s part of the same holistic approach we use to help our adult patients into a healthier life.

Why Choose Sovereign Health?

We’re a leading provider of mental health and substance abuse treatment for teens. Sovereign Health is the ideal choice for your teen:

  • Our treatment center is fully accredited by the Joint Commission, the oldest and largest health care accreditation organization in the U.S.
  • Rancho San Diego is a comfortable, pleasant and secure environment for troubled teens
  • We create tailored treatment plans for the unique needs of each patient

A healthier life can start today. Please call our 24/7 helpline for more information about our treatment from mental illnesses.

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Sovereign Health offers comprehensive and high-quality treatment programming for substance abuse and mental health. Call our 24/7 helpline at any time to reach our admissions team.

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