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Acute Traumatic Stress &
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Listen to Experts:
Acute Trauma
Suicide Prevention
What is Acute Traumatic Stress?
Acute Traumatic Stress Management
Working in Disaster Settings
Care for the Caregiver
What is PTSD?
General Facts
Substance Abuse & PTSD
Other Problems & PTSD
People at Risk
Estimated Risk
Duration of PTSD
Diagnosis/Treatment Resources
Effective Treatments
Seeking Safety: A Specialized Program
The Cost of Trauma
Field Notebook

What is Acute Traumatic Stress?

Acute traumatic stress is caused by an individual's subjective experience of an extreme traumatic event which can lead to extreme stress that inhibits a person's ability to cope. There is no clear division between stress and trauma. However, we know that stress can lead to trauma, which leads to adaptation, or may develop into Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.2

  • Trauma is defined as a terrifying event that a person experiences, witnesses or learns about in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened. 2
  • The traumatic event causes the person to feel intense fear, terror or a sense of helplessness. 2
  • Acute traumatic stress is experienced by anyone witnessing a traumatic event or violence. 2

For more information pertaining to acute traumatic stress and acute traumatic stress management, please listen to a lecture given by Dr. Mark Lerner, president of the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress.

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