Dr. Ankur Saraiya talks about acute stress disorder and how it is treated.
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Acute Stress Disorder, is an anxiety disorder that's closely related to PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and it's basically an issue of timing. So, if there's a traumatic event, and an individual develops symptoms within the first month of that event having taken place, and it hasn't lasted for over a month, then the diagnosis of Acute Stress Disorder would be made. If the symptoms last beyond a month, then a diagnosis of PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, is made. In terms of treatment for Acute Stress Disorder, because we're talking about such a limited time frame, in general you would give supportive treatment, and wait to see if the symptoms of Acute Stress Disorder, resolve on their own accord, or if they are going to evolve into PTSD, but just because you're not making a definitive intervention, does not at all mean it isn't important to have somebody do an evaluation, for symptoms of Acute Stress Disorder. Because somebody with experience dealing with trauma, and traumatic illnesses, can evaluate and do a pretty good job of predicting whether symptoms are going evolve and continue, or whether they will resolve, and it's very important to intervene with all traumatic, or trauma-related anxiety disorders, as early as possible. It can make all the difference in the world, to get treatment instituted early, before the symptoms have a chance to really set in. So, even though Acute Stress Disorder can be self-limited, it's very important to have it evaluated, to make sure it doesn't become chronic, and doesn't become full-blown PTSD.