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Acute Stress Disorder Criteria

Jamie Marich, Ph.D., LPCC-S, LICDC-CS, RMT, edited by C. E. Zupanick, Psy.D.

This section is meant to be an informative guide only. It is not intended for self-diagnosis. These diagnostic summaries are only meant for educational purposes, not diagnostic ones. If you believe that these patterns of symptoms describe you or someone you love, seek out a professional opinion by a treatment provider who understands trauma.

Acute Stress Disorder

  • Often conceptualized as pre-PTSD, the symptoms are the same as PTSD but occur within the first month of exposure to a qualifying traumatic experience.
  • There are a total of 14 symptoms in the five categories we reviewed for PTSD. A person needs any 9 of these 14 symptoms across the five categories:
  • The symptoms cause clinically significant impairment (social or relationship problems, problems at work, home, or school).
  • The implications for treatment and healing are similar to wound care. It is advantageous if trauma's impact can be treated as quickly as possible. With proper treatment and social support, coupled with good coping skills and resilience education, the likelihood of full-blown PTSD developing is greatly diminished.