Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
and Acute Stress Disorder
A. DSM lists trauma as events in which individuals are exposed to actual or threatened
death, serious injury, or sexual violation.
B. Also requires that individuals directly experience or witness the traumatic event, learn
that the event happened to someone they are close to or experience repeated exposure
to the details of a traumatic event.
C. Depersonalization: Experiences of feeling detached from one’s mental processes or
body- feeling as though in a dream
D. Derealization- experiences of unreality of surroundings
E. About 7% of adults will be exposed to traumatic event and develop PTST at some point
in their lives]
F. Women are at greater risk than men
G. Required symptoms
- Repeated reexpereinecing of traumatic event—intrusive thoughts/ images,
reoccurring nightmares, flashbacks
- Persistent in avoidance of situations, thoughts or memories associated with the
trauma—shun places, activities or people that remind them of the event.
- Negative changes in thought and mood associated with the event.--Some people
may not be able to remember aspects of the trauma- some may unrealistically blame themselves or others/ feel permanently damaged. Others may report
- Hyper-vigalence and chronic arousal- always on guard for the traumatic event to re-
occur. Sounds/ images that remind them of the even can cause them to panic and
H. Dissocation- process in which different facets of their sense of self, memories and
consciousness become disconnected from one another.
I. Acute stress disorder is similar to PTSD but symptoms arise within 1 month of exposure