Most of us face more than what we can chew every day – challenges, untoward incidents at home or work, daily obligations – and all these can take a toll on our lives and cause unnecessary stress. When these pressures continue and extend up to a month, it is called acute stress disorder.
Acute Stress Disorder Defined
Acute stress disorder requires that the physical and emotional reactions of an individual due to traumatic or unpleasant events last within a month. For consistent stress reactions that extend more than one month, these are classified as posttraumatic stress disorders.
Individuals who suffer from acute stress disorder experience fear, extreme worry, or dependence after a traumatic event. Most of them are also anxious, jittery and restless. You’ll know they’re traumatized because they don’t usually go to places that remind them of the particular event. They even have nightmares about it, and they have difficulty sleeping and resting because of it. They feel sad and often wish that the incident never happened at all.
Dealing with Acute Stress Disorder
Coping with acute stress involves facing everyday challenges by meeting one’s daily physical and mental needs. It consists of being able to get through the day and start a new day. It is therefore wise to learn helpful strategies that would enable the individual to cope with the stress and get rid of it before it is prolonged and is more difficult to deal with.
Nancy Goldov, PsyD, BC-DMT said “People want to feel empowered and stable amidst conflict and stress. The high level of societal stress has actually made it easier, in some ways, for clients to talk more openly about their stress.”
Attend to your immediate physical needs.
Self-care is an essential part of daily living. Getting nourished, staying fit, and having enough rest are among the most critical physical needs one must try to achieve every day. Acute stress can sometimes prevent us from taking care of ourselves, and we are pushed to the limit, aggravating the already stressful situation.
Take time to relax.
Rest and recreation may not always be extravagant. It can be as simple as spending a few hours talking and laughing with a close friend or just listening to music at the comfort of our own home. Often, the overbearing stress that we encounter for the day can be because of not having someone to confide our problems with. Find enjoyable and carefree conversations with people you’re comfortable with. Yoga and meditation are also beneficial strategies to reduce stress.
Rachel O’Neill, Ph.D. LPCC-S said ““Self-care is important and helpful for most individuals. However, if an individual begins to use self-care as an escape technique (for example, to remove feelings), then it could be an indicator that self-care might be serving a band-aid type function.”
Follow an exercise routine.
Sweating it out has always been one of the best ways to release tension and decrease stress levels to a minimum. Exercise, along with other physical activities, causes the production of endorphins, which are natural painkillers that also help reduce stress and promote sleep and relaxation.
4. Do not disengage.
Life may be too hard for you right now, but the worse thing you can do is to turn back from the world and That is a surefire way to prolong your stress. Do not shut yourself down. Instead, try to face your fears and remember that your life is what you make it. If you let your stress get the best of you, you lose.
Talk to a professional.
If you think you can’t handle the situation you’re in, and even family and friends can’t help, you may need to talk to a professional who can appropriately advise you on how to cope with acute stress disorder. Your mental and emotional health are as important as your physical health. Seek the help you need before stress takes over your life. You can also try joining group therapy. According to Clark Hunt, LPC, “Coping skills groups offer practical skills that can be a benefit along with individual therapy.”