Acute Stress Disorder (ASD)


Main Concepts:

Notable Features:

High Yield:



ASD is a severe anxiety response following exposure to actual or threatened trauma that lasts for 3 or more days, and up to one month. Symptoms from the following categories:

  • A|voidance of internal memories or external reminders

  • I|ntrusion (e.g. nightmares, flashbacks)

  • D|issociation (e.g. derealization, amnesia of the traumatic event, being in a "daze")

  • A|rousal (e.g. insomnia, startle, hypervigilance)

  • N|egative mood (e.g. tearfulness)

"AIDAN" mnemonic for the categories of symptoms in acute stress disorder

Other symptoms:

  • Impaired concentration

  • Intrusive memories

  • Nightmares

  • Flashbacks

ASD is characterized by re-experiencing events of the trauma, through symptoms like intrusive memories, flashbacks, and nightmares.



  • Patients have a higher risk for subsequent PTSD, so monitor if symptoms last longer than 1 month.


Treatment options:

  • Trauma-focused, brief CBT

  • Consider medication for insomnia or intense anxiety