Acute Stress Disorder

(Also Known As: Anxiety, Anxiety Disorder, Anxiety Attack, Acute Stress Reaction, Acute Stress Syndrome)

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)

What is Acute Stress Disorder?

Acute Stress Disorder is a temporary psychological disorder characterized by the severe impairment of a person’s normal functioning due to an extreme stressor. It is a reaction, in excess of what can normally be expected to an extremely stressful event. 1 Acute Stress Disorder can be recognized by feelings of anxiety, numbness, avoidance, depression and agitation. Some may also experience feelings of disconnection from reality or from one’s mind or body, and some may have intrusive thoughts. 2

Acute Stress Disorder is sometimes considered a precursor to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. 3 As in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the symptoms of Acute Stress Disorder are triggered by an extreme stressor—an objectively traumatic event (i.e. of life threatening nature), such as an accident, a natural calamity, physical abuse, sexual assault, combat or war, etc. 4 This often results in a feeling of depression, anxiety attack and a stressful condition.

Could You Have Acute Stress Disorder?

Acute Stress Disorder Topics

Related Conditions

Generalized Anxiety Disorder – Anxiety, Stress, Heart Palpitation, Excessive Worry, Dizziness
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – Obsession, Compulsion, Anxiety, Irrational and Uncontrollable Thoughts
Panic Disorder – Intense Feeling of Anxiety, Panic Attack, Excessive Fear, Palpitation, Rapid Breathing, Racing Thoughts, Dizziness, Blurred Vision
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – Nightmares, Insomnia, Sexual Abuse, Irritation, Social Impairment, Problems with Memory and Concentration, Intrusive Memories, Hyper-Vigilance