All about Acute Stress Disorder vs PTSD, Their comparison differences and many more | 2022


Before discussing acute stress disorder vs PTSD, have a look at acute stress disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder separately.

Acute stress disorder:

Shortly after a major traumatic event, an severe, unpleasant, and unstable reaction lasts less than a month… If more symptoms occur than one month.

ASD can be caused when one or more traumatic occurrences are experienced, witnessed, or confronted. The incidents trigger extreme terror, horror, or impudence. ASD can cause traumatic events including:

  • Death
  • Death threat to one self or others
  • Risk of extreme harm to oneself or others
  • Hazard to self and others’ physical integrity

Following a traumatic incident, everyone may develop ASD. You might be more likely to develop ASD if you have:

  • Witnessed, experienced, or experienced a traumatic incident in the past
  • ASD or PTSD background
  • A history of certain forms of mental disorder
  • A painful history of dissociative symptoms

Symptoms of acute stress disorder:

The symptoms of Acute stress disorder vs PTSD may slightly differ from acute stress disorder which includes:

Dissociative symptoms

If you have ASD, you may have three or more of the following symptoms:

  • To feel numb, disconnected, or unresponsive emotionally
  • Reduced sensitivity to your environment
  • Dissociative amnesia, when one or more significant aspects of the traumatic event can’t be remembered


You should avoid triggers that remind you or reexperience the traumatic incident, like:

  • People
  • Conversation
  • Places
  • Stuff
  • Events
  • Thoughts
  • Sensations

Anxiety or increasing arousal

Anxiety and increased excitement can be symptoms of ASD. Symptoms of fear and increased enthusiasm include:

  • sleeping problems
  • irritability
  • it is hard to focus
  • can not stop or remain quiet
  • being nervous or on watch at all times.
  • too quickly or unsuitable shocking

other symptoms:

Arousal: hyper-vigilance; unable to focus; sleep disturbances; irritable mood and violent outbursts include psychological signs of acute stress disorder.

  • Pallor, i.e. heart bumping.
  • Breathing trouble.
  • Pain in the thorax.
  • Pain in the abdomen.

These are the symptoms of acute stress disorder which are slightly different from acute stress disorder vs. PTSD.



Tested medications for either the treatment of ASD and/or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms include selective serotonin (SSRIs) and other anti-depressants, benzodiazepines, propranolol, morphine, hydrocortisone.

Psychotic interventions:

Includes trauma-focused cognitive/competence treatment (CBT), exposure therapy, cognitive therapying, and psychological debriefing to treat acute stress disease (ASD) symptoms and/or to prevent the development of posttraumatic stress disorder.

Trauma-focused CBT — Trauma-focused CBT for ASD typically includes patient education, cognitive restructuring, and exposure.

  • Patient education – Patients are educated about stressful reactions to trauma, trauma-related disorders, and treatment options. Patients should be trained to learn about stressful trauma reactions:
  • Normalize the stress response
  • Heighten expectancy of recovery
  • Explain the stress responses in terms of conditioning models that require the patient to learn that reminders are no longer dangerous
  • Cognitive restructuring – cognitive restructuring is used to resolve the distress or reaction of the patient to his / her case, as well as to the concerns of possible future damage.

Cognitive restructuring

Exposure – Exposure therapy allows patients to therapeutically face their fears of memory and circumstance. Exposure re-lives the trauma and helps it to be processed internally to make it less traumatic.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

It is a post-traumatic mental health disorder. The threats of injury or death may be actual or perceived.

This might contain:

  • A natural tragedy such as an earthquake or tornado
  • Battling with the military
  • Hit or harass physically or sexually;
  • Accident

People with PTSD feel more threatening. Their normal reaction to battle or flight is impaired and makes them feel stressed or afraid even in safety. PTSD was also referred to as “shell shock” or “combat fatigue” because it also affects veterans of war.

Also read,

Symptoms of PTSD

PTSD can interrupt your normal operations and functioning. Words, sounds, or trauma situations can trigger your symptoms.

PTSD symptoms also differentiate from the symptoms of acute stress disorder vs PTSD which fall into the following categories:


  • Flashbacks to relive the case again and again
  • Vibrant, disagreeable event memories
  • Regular case nightmares
  • Serious physical or emotional pain while remembering the case


Avoidance, as the name suggests, means avoiding the traumatic experience through persons, places, or circumstances.

  • Arousal and reactivity
  • Concentration problems
  • Quick to be horrified by and overreacted by your dismay
  • A permanent sensation at the edge.
  • Irritability irritability
  • Rage bouts
  • Cognition and mood
  • Pessimistic self-thinking.
  • Distorted shame, empathy, or guilt emotions
  • Difficulty recalling crucial elements of the case
  • Diminished consideration for your once loved habits

other symptoms:

Besides, people with PTSD may experience depression and panic attacks.

Panic attacks can cause symptoms like:

  • agitation
  • excitability
  • lightness
  • fainting
  • heart of a race or blowing
  • headaches

Treatment of PTSD:

The healthcare practitioner can recommend medication, medications, or a combination of both therapies if you are diagnosed with PTSD.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or ‘talk therapy’ helps you to treat and change the negative thought habits associated with the traumatic incident.

Re-experience trauma components in a healthy setting during exposure therapy. This can help desensitize you to the event and reduce your symptoms.

Antidepressants, anxiety medicines, and aids to sleep may help alleviate depressed and anxious symptoms. Two FDA-approved antidepressants for PTSD are sertraline and paroxetine.

See also, All about PTSD from Emotional Abuse.

Acute stress disorder vs post-traumatic stress disorder:


Acute stress disorder and PTSD do not vary significantly. Both are reactions to trauma and share symptomology very closely. However, they differentiate between the period and the time of the disorders. These period elements affect a person’s diagnosis, but in general, the proper care of these trauma conditions is important.

How is PTSD different from Acute Stress Disorder?

The principal distinctions between acute stress disorder and TSPT include emergence, length of symptoms, observed symptoms, and treatment options for each illness.

• Starting point:

If trauma occurs during acute stress disorders 0–28 days, a person must be diagnosed with PTSD at least 1 month after a traumatic disorder.

• Signs Duration:

symptoms of acute stress disorder are 3 to 4 weeks long, PTSD is a month-long and can last for a couple of years.

• Symptoms Expected:

Acute stress is usually distinguished by symptoms of dissociation, whereas PTSD can include re-experience, prevention, increased arousal, and major mood and cognitive changes.

• Choices for therapy:

There are various treatment options for acute stress disorder vs PTSD. The most frequent of short-term psychotherapy and antidepressant medicine is acute stress, while long-term psychotherapy, counseling, and EMDR can minimize PTSD symptoms.

Comparisons of Acute stress disorder vs PTSD

Both the acute stress condition and PTSD are the product of trauma. Due to this trauma, the person fights with a feeling of emotional disturbance, increased enthusiasm, and a desire to prevent triggering incidents, circumstances, or people. However, PTSD can continue for years, even if the acute stress disorder will only last for one month.

Acute stress disorder represents the causes of PTSD. PTSD can cause unique events including:

  • Physical harassment or assaults
  • Sexual assault and violation
  • Attacks by terrorists
  • Death exposure
  • Extreme disregard
  • Exploitation of feelings
  • Medical conditions that endanger life
  • Serious self or other accidents
  • Natural catastrophes

Acute stress disorder vs PTSD according to DSM:

Acute stress disorder, or ASD, was integrated into the DSM-IV in 1994. In DSM-5 (2013), ASD was reclassified in the Trauma- and Stressor-Related Disorders.

  1. A diagnosis of ASD is integral to promoting access after trauma exposure to medical services.
  2. Debate on ASD as a post-traumatic stress disorder measure continues.

ASD diagnosis can be assessed just three days to one month after the traumatic event. If the posttraumatic symptoms persist for a month the clinician will assess the presence of PTSD. The ASD diagnosis is no longer accurate.

PTSD diagnosis requires multiple symptoms to be met in specified clusters. Symptoms for ASD do not fall into clusters and therefore an individual meets symptomatic diagnoses.

PTSD encompasses non-fear-based illness (e.g. dangerous or destructive behavior, unnecessary self-infliction, or other trauma triggers, diminishing activity interest, and isolation), while Non-fear symptoms are found in ASD.

ASD requires the criterion to be met for at least nine of the 14 symptoms.

The same traumatic exposure criteria for acute stress disorder vs. PTSD (criterion A) is applied. Many signs of ASD are similar to PTSD symptoms. However, ASD and PTSD vary in different ways.

After reading Acute stress disorder vs PTSD, Visit Daily Human care for more Mental Health updates.

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