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Acute Stress Disorder

Acute stress disorder (also called acute stress reaction, psychological shock, mental shock, or simply, shock) is a psychological condition arising in response to a terrifying or traumatic event. It should not be confused with the unrelated circulatory condition of shock. Sufferers of acute stress disorder may experience a variety of symptoms including numbing; detachment; derealization; depersonalization or dissociative amnesia; continued re-experiencing of the event by such ways as thoughts, dreams, and flashbacks; and avoidance of any stimulation that reminds them of the event. During this time, they must have symptoms of anxiety, and significant impairment in at least one essential area of functioning. Symptoms last for a minimum of 2 days, and a maximum of 4 weeks, and occur within 4 weeks of the event. If the symptoms continue, the person may be given a new diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder.

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Acute Stress Disorder: A Brief Description Written by Laura E. Gibson, Ph.D. 23414