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    Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Acute Stress Disorder (ASD)

    What are post-traumatic stress and acute stress disorders?

    PTSD and ASD are anxiety conditions that occur after someone experiences or witnesses a traumatic event in which their life or safety (or the life or safety of someone else) was threatened. Events that commonly lead to trauma include, but are not limited to:

    • Seeing someone killed or badly injured, or seeing someone close to you in mortal danger
    • Being in an accident that could have led to death
    • Being a victim of rape or sexual assault

    There are three main features of PTSD and ASD:

    • Re-experiencing the traumatic event
      • Having repeated distressing memories of the event that you cannot control
      • Repeatedly having dreams about the event
      • Repeatedly feeling or acting as though you are reliving the event (sometimes taking the form or flashbacks or hallucinations)
      • Feeling great emotional distress or physical agitation when something reminds you of the traumatic event
    • Avoiding things or situations that remind you of the trauma, along with feelings of emotional numbness
      • Trying to avoid thoughts, feelings, conversations, activities, people, or places that remind you of the trauma
      • Difficulty remembering important parts or events that took place during the trauma
      • Feeling less interest in activities you normally enjoy
      • Feeling detached from others
      • Feeling like you can’t experience a full range of emotions
      • Feeling like the future is uncertain or that you don’t have a future
    • Feeling physically anxious, jumpy, or on-edge
      • Difficulty sleeping
      • Acting in an irritable manner or having angry outbursts
      • Difficulty concentrating
      • Frequently feeling on-guard or vigilant
      • Feeling easily startled

    Want to learn more about PTSD and ASD?

    Check out these resources:

    Are you concerned that you may have PTSD or ASD?

    See our resource database for a list of books, websites, and local options for seeking professional evaluations and treatment.

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