Students
Parents
Faculty and Staff
Care Providers

Information on Mental Health Disorders
Tools and Checklists

    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.

UM Depression Center© Copyright 2003-2016 Regents of the University of Michigan

The University of Michigan Health System web site does not provide specific medical advice and does not endorse any medical or professional service obtained through information provided on this site or any links to this site. Complete disclaimer and Privacy Statement.