Acute stress disorder is a psychiatric diagnosis that a person may receive within four weeks of experiencing a traumatic event. These patients express avoidance behaviors, dissociative symptoms and intense fear or anxiety. Someone diagnosed with ASD has an increased risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. Before this can occur, a patient needs to obtain ASD counseling with Dr. Piper Walsh.

ASD is a fairly common condition, and it often presents itself after someone lives through a particularly traumatic event. People with jobs that expose them to traumatic events often receive a diagnosis of ASD.

Diagnosing ASD

Diagnosing ASD requires a medical professional to take the patient’s history. Dr. Walsh will ask you to describe the traumatic event. Then, you will describe the symptoms you are experiencing. A Psychologist may diagnose someone with ASD if the patient experiences at least nine symptoms within 30 days of the traumatic event. Dr. Walsh will also need to rule out any other possible causes of your symptoms.

A diagnostic laboratory test doesn’t exist for this disorder. For example, the patient may be given the Stanford Acute Stress Reaction Questionnaire and the Acute Stress Disorder Interview. If the patient is determined to have the disorder, the Acute Stress Disorder Scale may be administered next. This scale will determine how severe the disorder is for the patient. High scores on the ASD Scale or the PTSD scale mean that the patient has an increased risk of developing lasting PTSD symptoms.

Symptoms of ASD

ASD symptoms are classified in the following categories:


These symptoms include the inability to relax and being startled easily. The patient may be verbally or physically aggressive. He or she may be unable to sleep or is sleeping too much. They may have difficulties concentrating or are particularly irritable.


The person may avoid places, thoughts, people or feelings that she associates with the event that traumatized her.


Dissociative symptoms are the inability to remember what occurred when the traumatic event was happening. It is also the failure to recognize one’s surroundings or experiencing an altered sense of reality.

NegativityDiagnosing & Counseling

Experiencing a depressive mood or negative thoughts.


Constant intrusive thoughts of the traumatic event occur in flashbacks, dreams or memories.

Counseling for Acute Stress Disorder

Counseling for acute stress disorder may include trauma-focused cognitive behavior therapy or CBT. It is usually the first option that a therapist will try with patients with ASD. The treatment begins with helping you normalize your stress responses and increasing the belief that you can get better. The purpose of this treatment is to help you develop more appropriate coping strategies.

If your symptoms are making it difficult for you to go on with your life after a traumatic event, you may benefit from counseling for acute stress disorder. Sometimes, people are not aware that they are experiencing a mental health disorder, so they fail to seek treatment. Dr. Walsh will help you determine whether or not the traumatic event you experienced is causing your present symptoms. After you have a chance to face your challenges, you will be able to live a much more productive life. Besides that, you will learn how to control your symptoms so that they will not lead to PTSD later.

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