Compare the differential diagnostic features of Acute Stress Disorder to the diagnostic features of anxiety and adjustment disorders

Respond to your  colleagues by comparing the differential diagnostic features of the  disorder you were assigned to the diagnostic features of the disorder  your colleagues were assigned. 

NOTE( Disorder assigned to me: Anxiety Disorder)                                         

Acute Stress Disorder

There  are some key similarities between anxiety and adjustment disorders.  However, differences are what separate the two diagnoses and correlate  to unique sets of symptoms. For example, repetitive periods of worry or  excessive thought are notable in anxiety disorders. Meanwhile feeling  triggered or having issues that are triggered by daily events could be  indicative of adjustment disorder. It is possible that a patient has  both diagnoses (Zelviene & Kazlauskas, 2018).

The  DSM-V classifies acute stress disorder as a trauma and stress disorder.  The DSM-IV shares specific variables to take into consideration for  diagnosing acute stress disorder (ASD). A person must have experienced a  reaction of helplessness or horror in response to a sudden traumatic  event. Dissociation, loss of consciousness, or memory are also  characteristic of the event (Gabbard, 2014). The events may be relived  or thought of whether there is a stimulus present or not. The symptoms  may begin within a few days and last up to a month (American Psychiatric  Association, 2013). This condition could be the pretext for PTSD when  symptoms persist for longer periods of time (McDuff, 2016). 

When  treating ASD there are many forms of therapy that are effective and  pertinent. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help patients identify  disorganized thinking patterns or beliefs. Meanwhile, group counseling  could be effective in the event of trauma caused by family or social  situations (Hayes et al., 2017). These forms of counseling are valuable  when working to improve child issues. They can also be suggested upon  diagnosis of adjustment disorders in adults (American Psychiatric  Association, 2013). 

In  some cases, serotonin reuptake inhibitors SSRIs may be prescribed for a  short time to regulate brain chemistry (Pai & North, 2017).  Medication could be suggested for these additional problems but is  generally not recommended for long periods when treating ASD (McDuff,  2016). The main reason for CBT as an initial form of treatment is that  it allows the practitioner opportunity to diagnose other disorders that  may be present. ASD is often associated with other psychological  problems or could be reflective of more harmful issues like  post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bipolar disorder or depression. 


American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental 

disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

Gabbard, G. O. (2014). Gabbard’s treatment of psychiatric disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Publications.

Hayes,  J. P., Logue, M. W., Reagan, A., Salat, D., Wolf, E. J., Sadeh, N.,  & … Miller, M. W. (2017). COMT Val158Met polymorphism moderates  the association between PTSD symptom severity and hippocampal volume. Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience: JPN, 42(2), 95–102. doi:10.1503/jpn.150339

McDuff, D. (2016). Adjustment and anxiety disorders. Sports.

Pai,  A., Suris, A. M., & North, C. S. (2017). Posttraumatic stress  disorder in the DSM-5: Controversy, change, and conceptual  considerations. Behavioral Sciences7(1), 7.

Zelviene, P., & Kazlauskas, E. (2018). Adjustment disorder: current perspectives. 

Neuropsychiatric disease and treatment, 14, 375–381.

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