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Acute Stress Disorder 

Acute Stress Disorder

The following is a description of the symptoms used to determine if you or your family have suffered a traumatic impact:

You or your family have been exposed to a traumatic event when both of the following are present:

·  the person experienced, witnessed, or was confronted with an event or events that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others

·  the person's response involved intense fear, helplessness, or horror

Either while experiencing or after experiencing the distressing event, the individual has three (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 in a daze")

· derealization - sense that world is unreal, strange, unfamiliar.

· depersonalization - feelings of being an outside observer of one's self

· dissociative amnesia (i.e., inability to recall an important aspect of the trauma)

The traumatic event is persistently re-experienced in at least one of the following ways: recurrent images, thoughts, dreams, illusions, flashback episodes, or a sense of reliving the experience; or distress on exposure to reminders of the traumatic event.

Marked avoidance of stimuli that arouse recollections of the trauma (e.g., thoughts, feelings, conversations, activities, places, people).

Marked symptoms of anxiety or increased arousal (e.g., difficulty sleeping, irritability, poor concentration, hypervigilance, exaggerated startle response, restlessness).

The disturbance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning or impairs the individual's ability to pursue some necessary task, such as obtaining necessary assistance or mobilizing personal resources by telling family members about the traumatic experience.

The disturbance lasts for a minimum of 2 days and a maximum of 4 weeks and occurs within a month of the traumatic event.

The disturbance is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition.

If symptoms persist for more than 4 weeks, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder may be indicated and require further help.


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CISM International

Supportive Online Solutions

SherryCardinal, LCSW, DAAETS
Phone: 713-594-0859