Acute stress disorder, or ASD, was introduced into the DSM-IV in 1994. In DSM-5 (2013), ASD was reclassified in the Trauma- and Stressor-Related Disorders (1). A diagnosis of ASD has been integral in helping facilitate access to health care after trauma exposure. Debate continues regarding ASD as a predictor of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD; 2).
Avoidance is a common reaction to trauma. It is natural to want to avoid thinking about or feeling emotions about a stressful event. But when avoidance is extreme, or when it’s the main way you cope, it can interfere with your emotional recovery and healing.
Treatment of PTSD and Comorbid Disorders 607 existing approaches already found effective for each separate disorder. Some studies address models that, designed for only one diagnosis, also showed impact on comorbid conditions. Overall, this research area is at an early stage in both the psychosocial and pharmacotherapy areas.
Another name sometimes used to describe the cluster of symptoms referred to as Complex PTSD is Disorders of Extreme Stress Not Otherwise Specified (DESNOS)(2). A work group has also proposed a diagnosis of Developmental Trauma Disorder (DTD) for children and adolescents who experience chronic traumatic events (3).
The four categories of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms are re-experiencing, avoidance, negative changes in thoughts and beliefs and hyperarousal (feeling keyed up). I’ve talked about the first two categories already and, so, today I want to discuss the changes in thoughts and beliefs associated with combat PTSD.
The struggle with PTSD is much more intense than with a normal stress response; however, it can be resolved through caring and careful treatment. A variety of therapies, such as trauma-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be beneficial in helping the individual understand the symptoms of PTSD and learn to manage them, leading to a more positive future.
Uncomplicated PTSD. Uncomplicated PTSD involves persistent reexperiencing of the traumatic event, avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma, emotional numbing, and symptoms of increased arousal. It may respond to group, psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, pharmacological, or combination approaches.