Fact 28

PTSD and Acute Stress Disorder (ASD)

Both PTSD and ASD are caused by trauma. The primary differences between them are when the symptoms occur and how long they last. ASD can be diagnosed only within the first four weeks after a trauma. After a month, it’s possible to receive a diagnosis of PTSD. If you develop ASD, you also have about an 80% chance of getting PTSD.

ASD has some unique symptoms, such as not knowing where you are or feeling as if you’re outside your body.

These risk factors increase a person’s chance of developing ASD:

  • Having survived a violent trauma as opposed to a natural disaster or accident
  • Having experienced other, earlier traumatic events
  • Having mental health problems in the past
  • Tending to “disappear” when a trauma occurs, e.g., not knowing who or where you are

Unfortunately there is no way to prevent ASD. However, research has shown that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be helpful if it begins shortly after the trauma occurs.

Now that I read over this description, it may sound rather ominous. But hope is hiding between the lines … The same principles for controlling PTSD apply to ASD. So if you encounter another trauma, you will already have strategies in place to handle it. I do hope, though, that you and I won’t have to put this to the test.

I will write two more blog posts for National PTSD Awareness Month (June), then this series will be concluded until next year. Are there any topics you would like me to cover in the next two days? I would appreciate your input.