A person develops this disorder within a month after experiencing an incident that brings great trauma, such as death of a close acquaintance, injury or physical violation.
- Psychologists believe that the proximity of the exposure to the traumatic experience dictates the risk of the individual to developing the disorder.
- Secondhand exposure to the traumatic incident also brings some form of disturbance into the mental state of the individual.
Mental Disorders Due to Acute Stress – Causes and Risks
- Natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes and floods are considered traumatic incidents as well.
- Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of stress-related mental illnesses in America.
- Age has been found to be a factor for developing stress disorders, with older adults more prone to such condition.
- People who experienced trauma in their childhood days are more likely to develop this illness due to the long-term biochemical changes in their central nervous system.
- Brain hormone levels can suffer from abnormalities, which may be inherited from one generation to another.
Acute Stress Disorder Treatment
Several treatment modes are required to treat cases of mental disorders.
- Immediate crisis intervention is needed to allow victims to express their fears and feelings.
- Patients with individual symptoms are given medications.
- Clonidine for hyperarousal
- Propranolol, alprazolam and clonazepam for panic reactions
- Trazodone for nightmares and insomnia
- Fluoxetine for patients who avoid treatment
- Psychotherapy encompasses many forms such as exposure therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, supportive therapy and therapeutic writing or journaling.
- Group and family therapies come to the patient’s assistance, providing a friendlier atmosphere for them to cope with the trauma.
- Holistic treatments such as therapeutic massage, yoga and meditation relieve soreness of the muscles that can be related to the anxiety.
- For post-traumatic cramps and muscle pains, hydrotherapy can be performed under the guidance of skilled practitioners.
Acute Stress Disorder Symptoms
The following symptoms must persist for at least two days, up to four weeks, within a month of the trauma inflicted.
- Loss of sense of surroundings
- Difficulty in determining what is real or not
- Emotional detachment
- Inability to recall parts of the incident or what is known as dissociative amnesia
- Difficulty in falling asleep or staying awake
- Experiencing recurring flashbacks or dreams of the event
- Avoiding places, people or conversations that are reminiscent of the incident