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Acute stress disorder after trauma: symptoms and treatment
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To be diagnosed with acute stress disorder, symptoms must last for at least three days. They disappear within a month of a traumatic experience. If someone still shows symptoms after this period, it is said to be post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Intrusive symptoms: involuntary and painful memories of the trauma, recurrent unpleasant dreams, flashbacks, altered negative response to stimuli reminiscent of the trauma.
- Symptoms of negative mood: inability to experience positive emotions such as happiness or love, depressed state of mind.
- Dissociative symptoms: delayed perception of time, seeing oneself from an outsider’s perspective, being in a daze.
- Avoidance symptoms: Avoidance of memories, thoughts, feelings, people, or places associated with the trauma.
- Arousal: Difficulty falling or staying asleep, irritable behavior or concentration problems, exaggerated startle reactions, anxiety, hypersensitivity.
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Causes and risk factors
Why only a specific proportion of people develop the condition after trauma is not clear. People with a diagnosis of another mental illness may be more susceptible. So are individuals with avoidant coping strategies or if they have a history of previous trauma. Women are also more at risk of acute stress disorder than men.
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