Teen Acute Stress Disorder (ASD)

Teen Acute Stress Disorder (ASD) is an overpowering sense of stress, panic and fear that appear after witnessing a traumatic event. Due to a specific traumatic event, where a teen may experience serious injury, or threat of death or physical abuse, symptoms of teen ASD may be triggered. Generally teen ASD occurs within a month of the traumatic incident. The symptoms may last for three days up to one month. These symptoms include interruption, avoidance, detachment and negative mood swings.

Teens with other mental health disorders will be more prone to ASD, and women are overall more likely to develop this disorder.

Causes of Teen ASD

The only major cause of ASD is experiencing a traumatic incident that leaves horror memories. Teens exposed to a traumatic event may develop ASD. If the teen has previously been diagnosed with, a mental disorder then he/she will be at risk of Teen Acute Stress Disorder. Women are highly prone to develop Acute Stress Disorder than men. Teen’s psychological response for Acute Stress Disorder is called acute stress response. These instant responses, including sudden speed in heart rate, blood pressure, sweating, fast breathing and nervous reactions. Higher cardiac output and faster metabolism are important to activating for action. Hence, when teens experience the traumatic event they feel the constant threat even after a few days or a month. Therefore, they experience the acute stress response more frequently by visualizing, imaging, thoughts and memories of that particular event.

Symptoms of Teen ASD

Generally, symptoms of ASD last for a minimum of three to four days and a maximum of a month. If a teen has another mental health disorder or medical condition then the symptoms of ASD may be more pronounced and longer lasting.

The usual symptoms of ASD are:

  • Feeling shocked and upset
  • Feeling emotionally lifeless
  • Lessened awareness of surroundings
  • Difficulty recalling specifics of a traumatic event

The more severe symptoms of ASD are:

  • Experiencing flashbacks of the traumatic event
  • Having a nightmare; imagining threats; and heightened unusual thought patterns
  • Hyper-arousal leading to sleeping disorder, tension, minimal concentration and focus in studies
  • Avoiding particular venues, schools, friends, family members, social gatherings, discussions of the particular traumatic incident
  • Experiencing continuous tension, anxiety and fear
  • Sometimes feeling guilty for being unable to prevent the traumatic event

Teens with Acute Stress Disorder need to be diagnosed in proper time to provide them support and treatment so that teens can get proper guidance to overcome the vigorous effect of horror. This way these teens will be able to come back to their normal life. If any teen of your family experienced any traumatic incident then try to support him and listen to his thoughts and experiences. May be that teen needs a proper diagnosis and treatment to get back to his normal life.


Teens with ASD require diagnosis and treatment within a timely manner in order to manage and modify the symptoms, and prevent the disorder overtaking all of their lives, to the extent that they lose touch with normal daily living. Treatment for ASD includes antidepressant medication and cognitive behavioral psychotherapy.

Cognitive Behavioral Psychotherapy helps to change the thought processes and patterns, all mainly focusing on the traumatic event triggering the ASD. This therapy reduces the anxiety and stress. With the help of continuous therapy, psychotherapists attempt to cure the symptoms and modify further development of ASD.

Psychological Interrogation / Talk Therapy, and Anxiety Management are some other kinds of therapies that are also applied for the treatment and management of ASD. Psychological interrogation involves talk therapy. Talk therapy can help the teen to express his thoughts, and feelings triggered by the traumatic incident and its ramifications. Various forms of talk therapy including visualization, imaging and breathing, can provide relief and relax the teen.

Medication is another way to treat ASD. Medication can provide relief, reduce stress and improve / support the result of talk therapy. It is often used in conjunction with talk therapy and other psychological or psychiatric therapeutic treatment.

Treatment at Hillcrest

Hillcrest Adolescent Treatment Center (Hillcrest) is a licensed, residential mental health facility in the tropical foothills of Agoura Hills, specializing in the treatment of teen ASD, and guided by expert mental healthcare professionals and therapists who are committed to the long-lasting and sustained healing of each client, both during and post treatment. At Hillcrest, teen residential treatment is dynamic, multi-layered, varied and eclectic. In addition to individualized therapeutic programs designed specifically to suit each client’s condition and temperament, a range of extracurricular activities and hobbies are also offered to ensure healthy and fun outlets for each client depending on their skills and talents.

Hillcrest’s individualized approach allows for personal attention and care of the highest of standards for each client. By recognizing the unique nature and experience of each client, and valuing the distinct abilities and character traits that your loved ones bring to the Hillcrest program, positive healing attributes are maximized and strengthened, allowing each client to flourish while at Hillcrest, and moreover, to learn to nurture those positive characteristics to achieve independence and constructive impactful change upon re-entry and re-integration into the outside world.

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