A diagnosis of acute stress disorder (ASD) is via a medical professional’s evaluation, based on specific criteria
ASD is diagnosed when individuals have been exposed directly or indirectly to a traumatic event.
In addition, they also must have had at least nine (9) of the following symptoms for three (3) days up to one (1) month:
- Recurring, uncontrollable, and intrusive distressing memories of the event.
- Recurring distressing dreams of the event.
- Feelings that the traumatic event is recurring:
- For example, in flashbacks
- Intense psychological or physical distress when reminded of the event:
- For example, by entering a similar location, or by sounds similar to those heard during the event.
- A persistent inability to experience positive emotions:
- Such as happiness, satisfaction, or loving feelings.
- An altered sense of reality:
- For example, feeling in a daze or as if time has slowed.
- Memory loss for an important part of the traumatic event.
- Efforts to avoid distressing memories, thoughts, or feelings associated with the event.
- Efforts to avoid external reminders (people, places, conversations, activities, objects, and situations) associated with the event.
- Disturbed sleep.
- Irritability or angry outbursts.
- Excessive attention to the possibility of danger (hypervigilance).
- Difficulty concentrating.
- An exaggerated response to loud noises, sudden movements, or other stimuli (startle response).
In addition, symptoms must cause significant distress or significantly impair functioning.
Medical professionals also check to see whether symptoms could result from use of a drug or another disorder.