At a certain point of each of our lives, everyone understands that life is full of ups and downs. No one lives his/her life without experiencing both. Some of the downs we face are easy to overcome, but sometimes we can experience traumatic events that can be hard to get past and can sometimes leave scars.
It is unwise to ignore our psychological turmoil, especially since 1 in 3 of the people who experience a traumatic event develop Acute Stress Disorder (ASD) that when ignored can develop into post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Acute stress disorder (ASD) is an anxiety disorder that occurs within one month of experiencing, witnessing or being confronted with one or more traumatic events and lasts at least three days and can persist for up to one month.
Anyone can develop ASD after experiencing a traumatic event. There are several symptoms that indicate if someone has ASD.
- Efforts to avoid the thoughts or feelings associated with the trauma
- Efforts to avoid activities, places, people or situations that arouse recollection of the trauma
- Inability to recall important aspects of the trauma (psychological amnesia)
Re-experiencing the traumatic event:
- Recurrent and intrusive distressing recollections of the event
- Recurrent dreams of the event
- Sudden acting or feeling as if the traumatic event is recurring
- Intense psychological distress at exposure to things that symbolizes or resembles an aspect of the trauma, including anniversaries
- Physical symptoms when exposed to internal or external cues of the event
- Markedly diminish interest in significant activities
- Restricted range of affection, unable to have loving feelings
- Sense of foreshortened future, does not expect to have career, marriage, children or normal life span
Anxiety or increased arousal:
- Sleep disturbance: difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- Irritability or outburst of anger
- Difficulty concentrating
- Exaggerated startled response
How can ASD be treated?
The first step in the treatment of ASD is recognition. The moment someone recognizes he/she has a problem, they need to visit a doctor to evaluate their symptoms and determine their needs to know the best treatment for them.
There are different ways to treat ASD such as:
- Medication to relieve the symptoms of ASD, such as anti-anxiety medications, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and antidepressants.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy, which may increase recovery speed.
- Exposure-based therapies
The selection of the best treatment depends on the doctor’s evaluation to the patient’s case since the effect of any of the treatments differs from one case to another
Many people with ASD are later diagnosed with PTSD, which causes a significant amount of stress and difficulty functioning, but when ASD is early recognized it can be easily treated getting the patient to full recovery.
We need to learn how to continue living our lives and overcome all the bumps in our ways, because that is all they are, bumps, they slow us down, but we can still pass them and learn from them.
This article was brought to you by Tabibi 24/7, Cairo’s leading family medicine & pediatrics group practice. Tabibi operates 24/7 and offers its services in the comfort of your own home or in one of its clinics.
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