Post-traumatic stress disorder, better known as PTSD, is a mental health issue that may develop after a person experiences or witnesses a traumatic event, a life-threatening event, a major disaster, a serious accident, or an assault. People suffering from PTSD have symptoms such as traumatic memories (flashbacks), nightmares, feeling "on guard", avoidance of people, places and things that remind them of the trauma, agitation, and sleep problems along with many other symptoms in some cases. People with PTSD often have trouble returning to their normal routine of work, school, family life, or other activities after the event that triggered the PTSD. While it is natural for people who have been through a crisis event to struggle with these things for a while after the event, people with PTSD have these issues for months or even years. Sometimes the issues will be sporadic and sometimes they will be nearly constant.
Acute stress disorder is a mental health issue that may happen during the first month after a traumatic event, life-threatening event, major disaster, major accident, or an assault. The symptoms of ASD are the same as those of PTSD. However, there is a key difference: A post-traumatic stress disorder diagnosis may not be given until those symptoms have continued for a month or longer. Acute stress disorder may also differ from PTSD in that patients who are dealing with ASD may be more likely to suddenly be disoriented or lost. Some acute stress disorder sufferers complain of feeling they are outside of their body, as well.
PTSD and ASD sufferers often tend to self-medicate in an effort to finally be free of their symptoms. Many people with PTSD and ASD feel shame and embarrassment, and they may hesitate to reach out for professional help as a result. An accurate diagnosis is a vital step to recovery, and a board-certified psychiatrist can establish a proper diagnosis and an individualized treatment plan. The doctor will work closely with each person to tailor an effective recovery plan.
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