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Acute Stress Disorder

Acute stress disorder may occur as an acute reaction following exposure to extreme stress.

DSM IV Criteria

Criteria for acute stress disorder are similar to criteria A, B, C, and D of PTSD

Symptoms described below occur after an individual has been exposed to a traumatic event that is outside the realm of normal human experience (combat, natural disaster, physical assault, accident).

The patient persistently reexperiences the event through intrusive recollection or nightmares, reliving of the experience (flashbacks), or intense distress when exposed to reminders.

Persistent avoidance of the traumatic event and emotional numbing (feeling of detachment from others) may be present. The patient may have feelings of detachment, anhedonia, amnesia, restricted affect, or active avoidance of thoughts or activities that may be reminders.

A general state of increased arousal persists after the traumatic event, which is characterized by poor concentration, hypervigilance, exaggerated startle response, insomnia, or irritability (two required).

Additional findings in acute stress disorder may include the following: