for Acute Stress Disorder
This Acute Stress
page contains an abridged version of the DSM-IV Criteria.
(The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of
Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) is a guide to the diagnosis of mental disorders
in the United States.)
This page has been included for information purposes only and although
these criteria are displayed to provide a guideline to diagnosis they
cannot substitute a visit to a doctor or mental health practitioner.
One more thing:
A "diagnosis" is merely a label .
It does not define you as a person.
Be very aware of The Power of Labelling - Depending on your beliefs
about certain words, labelling yourself could bring relief, or possibly
make you feel even worse!
is an example of some experts who share my point of view.
DIAGNOSTIC CRITERIA FOR ACUTE STRESS DISORDER
The person has been exposed to a
traumatic event in which both of the following were
1) The person experienced, witnessed, or was confronted with an event
or events that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury,
or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others.
2) The person’s response involved intense fear, helplessness, or horror.
Either while experiencing or after experiencing
the distressing event,
the individual has three (or more) of the following symptoms:
1) A subjective sense of numbing, detachment, or absence of emotional
2) A reduction in awareness of his or her surroundings (e.g., being in
5) Dissociative amnesia (i.e., inability to recall an important aspect
of the trauma)
The traumatic event is persistently
at least one of the following ways: recurrent images, thoughts, dreams,
illusions, flashback episodes, or a sense of reliving the experience;
or distress on exposure to reminders of the traumatic event.
Marked avoidance of stimuli that arouse
of the trauma (e.g., thoughts, feelings, conversations, activities,
Marked symptoms of anxiety or increased arousal
(e.g., difficulty sleeping, irritability, poor concentration,
hypervigilance, exaggerated startle response, motor restlessness).
The disturbance causes clinically significant
distress or impairment
in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning or
impairs the individual’s ability to pursue some necessary task, such as
obtaining necessary assistance or mobilizing personal resources by
telling family members about the traumatic experience.
The disturbance lasts for a minimum of 2 days
and a maximum of 4 weeks and occurs within 4 weeks of the traumatic
The disturbance is not due to the direct
physiological effects of a substance (e.g., drug of abuse, a
medication) or a
general medical condition, is not better accounted for by Brief
Psychotic disorder, and is not merely an exacerbation of a preexisting
Axis I or Axis II disorder.
Acute Stress Disorder is distinguished
Traumatic Stress Disorder
because the symptom pattern in Acute Stress Disorder must occur within
4 weeks of the traumatic event and resolve within that 4-week period.
If the symptoms persist for more than 1 month and meet criteria for
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the diagnosis is changed from Acute
Stress Disorder to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.