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.