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Hampshire and London

0203 752 4258

  07909 710 002

info@hampshireanxietyclinic.co.uk

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Online video appointments available in place of clinic appointments.

Acute Stress Disorder (ASD) and Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Acute Stress Disorder can occur when anxiety and dissociative symptoms develop rapidly as a reaction to traumatic event, or an event that was perceived as extremely stressful. It is diagnosed when:

  • The person experienced, witnessed, or was confronted with (e.g., can include learning of) an event or events that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of self or other.
  • Though not required, the persons response is likely to involve intense fear, helplessness, or horror.

Either while experiencing or after experiencing the distressing event, the individual has 3 or more of the following dissociative symptoms:

  • A subjective sense of numbing, detachment, or absence of emotional responsiveness.
  • A reduction in awareness of his or her surroundings (e.g.," being is a daze")
  • De realisation (where the external world feels a bit un-real and distant)
  • Dissociative amnesia (i.e., inability to recall an important aspect of trauma)

The disturbance of an acute stress disorder must last for a minimum of 3 days and a maximum of 4 weeks, and must occur within 4 weeks of the traumatic event.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is an anxiety disorder that can occur immediately after someone has experienced a terrifying experience or months and years after the event. It is normal to experience confusion and distress after a traumatic event and sometimes the symptoms pass on their own. It is when symptoms persist that they can become troublesome.

The type of events that can cause PTSD include:

  • Serious road accidents
  • Violent personal assaults, such as sexual assault, mugging or robbery
  • Prolonged sexual abuse, violence or severe neglect
  • Witnessing violent deaths
  • Military combat
  • Being held hostage
  • Terrorist attacks
  • Natural disasters, such as severe floods, earthquakes or tsunamis

PTSD can also be experienced as a reliving of the events, including flashbacks, nightmares, feelings of guilt, isolation and outbursts of anger and irritability.