Acute Stress Disorder (ASD) normally occurs after a person experiences a traumatic event. A relative condition to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Healthline explains that it has similar symptoms such as detachment, recurrent flashbacks, depersonalization, and even amnesia in extreme cases. The main difference is that people who develop ASD normally recover after a month while PTSD can last for extended periods if left untreated.
If you or someone you know is suffering from severe anxiety after exposure to trauma, here are 10 ways that will help in coping with ASD.
- Prioritize rest
Dedicating time for quality rest is essential in recovering from trauma, because stress can take an extreme toll on a person’s overall well-being. Most victims of the disorder often have difficulty in getting enough sleep so it’s important to deliberately set aside time for recuperation.
- Eat well and exercise
Like rest, proper nutrition and regular physical activity are also basic ingredients for recovery. More than sustenance, food can have healing powers and we previously mentioned engaging your body through exercise as a way to release tension. Having a good self-care routine consisting of these three elements ensures a smooth and speedy recovery.
Harvard Health suggests that breathing exercises ease anxiety effectively. People who practice relaxation techniques reap their stress-reducing benefits which is why yoga and meditation have become more popular through the decades. If you feel like a traumatic flashback is coming on, try closing your eyes and shifting your focus to breathing deeply and slowly.
- Pick up an old hobby or try a new one
Whether sports, books, movies, or any other pastime, returning to your old hobbies can help you get back to your normal life. Alternatively, trying something new might also spark a new interest to distract you from acute stress as you try to cope with it.
- Go for a change of scenery
For some, experiencing a change of pace or scenery is what does the trick. Try booking a trip where you can reacquaint with your fun and adventurous side. Look for alternative work if your job aggravates your condition, but it’s important that you accurately identify your stressor before you do anything drastic.
- Talk about your experience
Distraction can make living with ASD easier, but complete denial is not going to solve your problems. Talking through your experience is an essential step that helps you process your feelings, fears, and realizations. It can be with a family member, a friend, a group, or a counselor. The important thing is finding a person to share your emotions so that the symptoms don’t worsen over time.
- Write a journal
Keeping a journal is similar to the previous step except that it’s a more personal journey. Very Well Mind explains that the process of writing in a notebook helps you discover things about yourself that you may not have known or understood before. Journaling is also a more accessible alternative for the physically disabled who cannot perform exercises.
- Surround yourself with good company
One of the most common symptoms of ASD is detachment, whether it be from work, hobbies, or people. Still, Dr. Paul Christo emphasizes that human interaction should be a priority when dealing with stress. Actively seeking company from family and friends you genuinely enjoy being around will help build a reliable support system that you can turn to in time of need.
- Seek professional help
Of course, ASD is not a challenge that was meant for you to tackle alone. Patient.info recommends seeking professional help, especially if the situation is already too much to handle even for the people around you. Experts on the condition may prescribe medication, counseling, or other forms of treatment such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Dr. Christo has a useful, two part show on CBT for pain that is applicable to stress.
- Confront your stressors gradually
In recovering from acute stress disorder, confronting what caused your trauma can be a difficult but necessary step. No one expects or even suggests that you approach it in full force right away, as it should be a gradual process. Eventually, you’ll have to face your stressors and it’s best to learn how to manage it slowly but surely until you can confront them head on.