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Stress Disorder - How One Tragic Event Can Disrupt Your Mental Health
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Stress Disorder – How One Tragic Event Can Disrupt Your Mental Health

Have you ever met someone who has talked about how a certain event affected them greatly?  This certain event can play a great deal in disturbing a person’s mental health. Acute stress disorder is a psychiatry condition which develops following the exposure of an individual to traumatic events.

These traumatizing events may include the death of a loved one, a threat to life, physical or mental abuse, or any other serious injury. The condition gained prominence after World War I. Soldiers returning home exhibited symptoms that were later termed as post-traumatic stress disorder. With the passage of time, medical experts discovered that people who experience any stressful event may have PTSD-like symptoms for a short time.

In the US alone, around eight million people are affected by PTSD which can occur at any age. There is also sufficient evidence to confirm that the disorder may run in families. Also, women are more likely to develop the condition than men.


The symptoms that can be a sign of this disorder may be one or all of the following: avoidance, arousal, negative mood, dissociation, and intrusion. These symptoms emerge within the three days of the event and last for up to one month. These categories are explained below:

Avoidance symptoms: deliberate avoidance of thoughts, feelings, memories, places or places associated with the trauma

Arousal symptoms: problems with concentration, irritable behavior and difficulty staying or falling sleep.

Negative mood symptoms: an inability to experience or feel good about positive emotions such as joy and love.

Dissociation syndrome: being in a daze, time slowing or seeing oneself from an outsider’s perspective.

Intrusion symptoms: recurrent distressing dreams or involuntary distressing memories of the trauma.

People with the condition often show a level of guilt for not being able to avert the trauma or for failing to move on. During the first thirty days following the trauma, people also have panic attacks. Children with stress disorder also show the signs of separation anxiety if they are away from their caregivers or guardians for a short time.


In many cases, cognitive behavioral therapy has led to desired results. The therapy comprises two parts. The first deal with deconstructing the pattern of thought surrounding the incident. The second part deals with changing behavior in anxiety-provoking situations.

Medications can also help reduce symptoms of high arousal and anxiety. Stress-reduction strategies, including relaxation techniques, can help accelerate the recovery process for people with the disorder.

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