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Posttraumatic and Acute Stress Disorders

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and acute stress disorder (ASD) are defined by similar criteria. First and foremost, the person must have been exposed to a traumatic event. Exposure may occur through experiencing, witnessing, or learning of an event or repeated or extreme contact with details of traumatic events. Additional criteria for PTSD and ASD include the presence of symptoms that fall in four main categories: reexperiencing, avoidance, negative mood and cognitions, and changes in arousal. The primary difference between PTSD and ASD is the duration of symptoms required for each diagnosis. ASD is diagnosed when symptoms occur close in time to the traumatic event and persist for at least three days and up to one month following the traumatic event. PTSD is diagnosed when symptoms ...

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