Monday, April 19, 2010

Car Accident Trauma - Acute Stress Disorder

Upon researching the topic for this week, I found Acute Stress Disorders to be really interesting. The article that I found relates acute stress disorders to a sudden unexpected car crash. Acute stress disorder is defined by a response to a life-threatening event (ex- car accident). When an individual who has been exposed to a traumatic event develops anxiety symptoms, re-experiencing of the event, and avoidance of related stimuli lasting less than four weeks they may develop acute stress disorder. The disorder can have an impact on your physical health and also your mental health. This is a serious disorder, and if not treated properly, it can turn into other disorders such as frequent Panic Attacks/ Anxiety and Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. The article states "Most Americans will be involved in a traffic accident at some point in their lives, and 25% of the population will be involved in accidents resulting in serious injuries. The National Comorbidity Survey of 1995 found that 9% of survivors of serious motor vehicle accidents developed ASD or PTSD." If you are not sure if you have Acute Stress Disorder, some common symptoms are flashbacks to the incident, unable to sleep, depression, anxiety, daydreaming, and being overly emotional. If you are suffering from Acute Stress Disorder, getting treatment is very important. Treatment can be provided by physical and psychotherapy. It only makes sense that one would suffer from Acute Stress Disorder after a life threatening incident- one’s life was in serous danger and it is only normal to be shaken up for a bit. When I was younger, I myself was in a car accident. I remember being so scared to get back in a car because of the incident, but I eventually got over my fear by accepting the fact that it happened. Acute Stress Disorder symptoms may occur and are more commonly seen in association with an interpersonal stressors such as childhood sexual or physical abuse, domestic violence, impaired affect, self-destructive and impulsive behavior.


Swe said...

Speaking of life threatening events, I have definitely been through a few. I also had one when I was little, when I almost drowned, and more recently with an injury, though it wasn't anything like a car accident. I guess being somewhat clumsy and getting into little accidents helps me cope with these situation a bit as I'm used to constantly try to fix a situation or deal with its consequences. Or so I had thought, but I must admit that I tend to avoid going to beach and don't find the idea of beaches or large bodies of water to be fun or relaxing in any way, to this day. While I don't let that stop me from going to the beach or having contact with water, I guess I just don't enjoy it anymore. I think I relate most to the withdrawal symptoms mentioned in the article as following the event that happened when I was older, I would just avoid people so I didn't have to explain what happened- which I guess could be a defense mechanism. What perplexed me about the article is the severity of symptoms such as depression or even "reliving" the incident in a sense. Regardless of how injured or how near death I was, I don't think I've ever reached that point. What makes people have these symptoms? Are the symptoms more severe depending on the severity of the accident or is it based on an individual's personal defense mechanisms or ways of reacting to situations? Also, with prolonged sources of such distress- such as childhood or domestic abuse- can the same therapy used for one-time events treat the disorder in patients that have been distressed for longer?

Parag said...

PTSD can appear in children or adults. Children in foster care have shown a high incidence of post-traumatic and complex post-traumatic stress disorder.
Acute stress disorder symptoms