The symptoms of PTSD and ASD are generally very similar. Usually, ASD (Acute Stress Disorder) precedes PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). ASD is diagnosed within one month of the traumatic incident and cannot be diagnosed as ASD after that time. PTSD, however, can be diagnosed years later because symptoms may not develop immediately after a traumatic event. PTSD is often thought to be a more serious version of ASD because of this. One of the things that you need to know is that if you have ASD, it could lead to PTSD. In fact, ASD leads to PTSD in 80% of cases. Some of the symptoms that both disorders share include emotional numbness, restlessness, anxiety, uncharacteristic irritability, problems focusing or concentrating, flashbacks, and sleep disturbance.
While the concept of PTSD has been discussed as early as 1952, ASD was only introduced into the DSM-IV (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) in 1994. Similarly to PTSD, a veteran can be diagnosed through an interview with a physician. Specifically, the Acute Stress Disorder Interview (ASDI) (15) is the only structured clinical interview that has been validated for ASD. It appears to meet standard criteria for internal consistency, test-retest reliability, and construct validity. The interview was validated by comparing it with independent diagnostic decisions made by clinicians with experience in diagnosing both PTSD and ASD.
According to a 2000 study with Bryant and Harvey, cognitive behavioral interventions during the acute aftermath of trauma exposure have yielded the most consistently positive results in terms of preventing subsequent posttraumatic psychopathology. These interventions focus on the development of personal coping strategies that target solving current problems and changing unhelpful patterns in cognitions (e.g., thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes), behaviors, and emotional regulation.
One of the biggest differences between ASD and PTSD is the greater emphasis on dissociative symptoms for ASD. Dissociation is defined as being out of consciousness either fully or partially. Dissociative symptoms include; amnesia which is temporary, depersonalization (in which the person detaches himself or herself from the incident that is traumatizing), and derealization (the person detaches himself from the environment he or she is living in). An ASD diagnosis requires that a person experience three symptoms of dissociation (e.g., numbing, reduced awareness, depersonalization, derealization, or amnesia), while the PTSD diagnosis does not include a dissociative symptom cluster.
PTSD can be triggered by several things that will let them remember the incident such as; sounds, smells, places, people, and much more. Symptoms may come and go for days, months, or up to a year. Some symptoms ascend or descend in severity in a span of time. It is vital to keep track of how long you feel off, because if you experience symptoms of ASD for over a month, it is likely that you have developed PTSD. While there is no cure for PTSD, it can be treated over time through family support, psychotherapy, and certain medications, like antidepressants. Prolonging the treatment of PTSD will only bring more physiological problems to a lot of people, so if you are on the fence about getting treatment, the sooner you do, the better.
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