Disorder treatment: Does it really work?
Acute Stress Disorder Overview:
definition, acute stress disorder is a result of a traumatic event in which the
person experienced or witnessed an event that involved threatened or actual
serious injury or death and responded with intense fear and helplessness. Thus,
acute stress disorder treatment would generally be aimed at being brief, and
would be provided as immediately as possible following the trauma. Individuals
most in need of acute stress disorder treatment would include survivors with
psychiatric disorders; traumatically bereaved people; children, especially those
separated from their parents; and individuals who are especially dependent upon
psychosocial support mechanisms, such as the elderly and handicapped and
Stress Disorder: What
does treatment entail?
different components of acute stress disorder treatment involve providing
psychosocial information, crisis intervention and emotional first aid.
Information should be provided about the trauma to allow the individual to fully
recognize and accept all of the relevant details. Obviously, information needs
to be given in a way that conveys a sense of hope and the possibility that
psychological pain and the threat of loss can be effectively cope with. It is
believed that psychological support may help to strengthen an individual's
mechanisms for coping and perhaps facilitate their adaptive defense mechanisms.
The survivors who benefit to the greatest degree possible are those who take
full responsibility for the outcome and participate completely in the acute
stress disorder treatment process. Also, crisis intervention is frequently
recommended shortly after natural disasters, serious traumas or acts of
violence. Some experts have recommended using what has been described as
emotional first aid, which is used to achieve the following: acceptance of
feelings, symptoms, reality, and the need for help; recognition of
psychologically distressing issues; identification of available resources;
acceptance of responsibility in absence of blame; cultivation of an optimistic
attitude; and efforts to resume activities daily life as much as possible.
survivors with acute stress disorder have been found to engage in worry and
cognitive strategies of punishment more than survivors without acute stress
disorder. Cognitive behavioral therapy has been found to reduce the strategies
and increased the use of social control strategies and reappraisal. However, at
the present time, the relationship of these findings to the development of
post-traumatic stress disorder has not yet been determined.
has not been much investigation to determine if early acute stress disorder
treatment has effectively reduced the onset of post-traumatic stress disorder,
although it may be safe to assume that early treatment may have some
preventative effect. However, during World War II, rapid and effective
treatment of acute combat stress did not always prevent veterans from developing
chronic mental health problems. Also, intervention designed recently to prevent
the development of post-traumatic stress disorder which was administered in the
acute phase, critical incident stress debriefing, has been found to be
ineffective in preventing the development of post-traumatic stress disorder.
However, there has been a study with individuals involved in motor vehicle
accidents that suggested that exposure therapy and exposure therapy with anxiety
management training, may be effective in preventing post-traumatic stress
disorder. Obviously, it is important to note that an understanding of effective
acute stress disorder treatment at the present time is in the early
information from the DSM-IV-TR Mental Disorders: Diagnosis, Etiology and
Treatment by Michael B. First and Alan Tasman
Licensed Psychologist Ph.D. Candidate
(Health and Geriatric Psychologist)
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