How to detect acute stress disorder

The acute stress disorder is a response to a traumatic event that leads a person to a state of anxiety and concern. The symptoms of acute stress disorder usually appear during or immediately after the traumatic situation has occurred. They tend to last for at least 2 days and can last for 4 weeks after the traumatic event has occurred. The person who experiences this type of disorder tends to relive the traumatic event quite frequently, producing significant discomfort that often causes deterioration in various aspects of their life. Next, we will introduce you to how to detect acute stress disorder.

Steps to follow:

  1. Anxiety and other symptoms. While the traumatic event occurs or after it occurs, the person experiences great anxiety. This manifests itself through difficulties sleeping, irritability, difficulties concentrating, among others. There are also a series of symptoms that we will describe below: subjective feeling of dullness, detachment or lack of reactivity, ignorance of their own environment, derealization, depersonalization and dissociative amnesia.
  2. Subjective feeling of dullness, detachment or lack of emotional reactivity. The person does not seem to feel or show any kind of emotional reaction and is disconnected from all kinds of affectivity. There seems to be no emotional response to what is happening to you. He also experiences a reduced awareness of the environment; the person seems to be stunned by what is happening to him.
  3. Derealization and depersonalization. The person feels that the world around him or what is happening, is something unreal, that is far from his reality. You feel that the situation you are experiencing is like a scenario that does not correspond to your life.  Regarding depersonalization, the person feels strangeness in relation to himself, experiences the sensation of not being himself, of being an external observer of what is happening to him.
  4. Dissociative amnesia. This type of amnesia is related to the inability to remember important aspects of the traumatic situation. This type of amnesia is partial (since it does not forget everything that happened, but only the most important thing) and it is highly selective, since the brain chooses which events to forget.
  5. Repetition. The person who goes through an acute stress disorder, usually relives the event in various ways, either through images, thoughts, dreams. Even avoid those stimuli, places or people that remind you of the trauma. Exposure to these stimuli not only makes you relive the trauma but also causes the person great discomfort.
  6. Daily life. These reactions that the person has based on the traumatic situation, generate a deterioration in various aspects of their life, be it the work, social, family environment. The person has difficulty facing these situations and even this often influences the need to ask for help to solve it.

This article is merely informative, we do not have the power to prescribe any medical treatment or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.


  • If you think someone has acute stress disorder, see a specialist.

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