A majority of people in society at least experience traumatic events once in their lifetime.

A majority of people in society at least experience traumatic events once in their lifetime.

A majority of people in society at least experience traumatic events once in their lifetime.


RE: Discussion – Week 11


A majority of people in society at least experience traumatic events once in their lifetime. Trauma is one of the effects that can affect individuals’ psychological and emotional well-being. If trauma is not managed, it can lead to mental illness, including acute stress disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The first difference between PTSD and acute stress disorder is the duration of symptoms (James & Gilliland, 2017). Symptoms of PTSD last for four weeks and persists for years, and those of acute stress disorder may last for three days up to four weeks. Acute stress disorder is associated with dissociation, while PTSD is associated with re-experiencing and heightened arousal that changes the mood (James & Gilliland, 2017). The similarity between PTSD and acute stress disorder is that they occur due to exposure to trauma. Due to the trauma, an individual will struggle with emotional dysregulation and the tendency to avoid situations that trigger such events. Another similarity is that both disorders integrate similar diagnostic approaches which are often given in the first month after an event has occurred. It is important for a social worker to understand the similarities and differences between the two to avoid integrating a wrong approach to a case presented by a client.

PTSD and C-PTSD clients require an individual to speak with them about the events that surround their lives and it is often difficult to speak about it (James & Gilliland, 2017). I would apply the journaling technique as a method to help individuals undergoing PTSD; the technique is important because it allows nonverbal catharsis to occur. Accuracy of the technique will be measured when the journaling method has already been applied and its ability to influence maladaptive behaviors. The technique also allows individuals to write down their thoughts and meditate about them (James & Gilliland, 2017). Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) will play a critical role in developing effective coping strategies. Mindfulness intervention is also important in helping individuals with acute stress disorder deal with their stressful events in life. Accuracy of the two methods will also be measured by the outcomes of the diagnosis on the individuals with the disorder. CBT will also be applied to dissociation because it is designed to help individuals to see and change their negative thoughts. It is possible that an individual might have a dissociative disorder and might not know the symptoms.


James, R. K., & Gilliland, B. E. (2017). Crisis intervention strategies (8th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.


RE: Discussion – Week 11


Post two similarities and two differences between PTSD and the other diagnostic category you selected.

Some individuals experience normal behavioral responses to abnormal crisis situations or experiences. While some individuals affected by a traumatic or crisis event are resilient and promptly return to their natural mental and physical homeostatic state, others develop abnormal behaviors as a response which could lead to debilitating symptoms. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and acute stress disorder both fall under the disorder classification of trauma and stressor related disorders according to the DSM-5 (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). They both also occur in response to a traumatic or crisis event which can cause dysfunction in an individual’s daily life. One difference between PTSD and acute stress disorder is that individuals suffering from PTSD symptoms do not exhibit dissociate symptoms such as memory loss, disconnect from reality, altered sense of identity etc., (James & Gilliland, 2017). Individuals with acute stress disorder usually experience these symptoms immediately after the trauma. Also, individuals who suffer from acute stress disorder symptoms have an increased risk for developing PTSD if they do not receive the proper intervention in a timely manner. In some cases, PTSD symptoms do not occur immediately after exposure to the traumatic event, they can be delayed for at least 6 months or more.

Explain how you might determine the accuracy of PTSD, C-PTSD, acute stress disorder, and dissociation diagnoses.

In order to consider diagnosis someone with acute stress disorder the presence of symptoms must be present from two days up to four weeks and must occur within one month of experiencing the trauma event. Symptoms associated with acute stress disorder are usually not prolonged and do not last longer than a month. PTSD symptoms can take months or years to develop and last much longer. PTSD is a complex diagnosis and one that should not be given lightly, the individual must meet full criterion as stated in the DMS-5 and other potential diagnosis should be ruled out. Dissociation symptoms are listed in a special category of PTSD in the DSM-5, these symptoms are the most significant long-term precursors for PTSD diagnoses and are the basis for the existence of a C-PTSD diagnosis. C-PTSD occurs when the individual’s PTSD symptoms are severe enough to cause “extreme stress and includes three distinct symptoms, somatization, dissociation, and affect dysregulation that go far beyond the complexities associated with the original PTSD diagnosis” (James & Gilliland, 2017). Dissociation disconnects an individual’s memory from their conscious awareness which can cause them to disconnect and isolate themselves from reality. This behavior is often used a last resort form of coping with the trauma while it is still occurring such as physical abuse or recurrent rape in childhood. In severe cases, these symptoms have the potential to lead to dissociative identity disorder. One primary differing factor between PTSD, C-PTSD, and acute stress disorder from dissociative identity disorder is this disorder is usually recognized by others and the individual has created an alter ego to assist them in coping with their trauma.


American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Publisher.

James, R. K., & Gilliland, B. E. (2017). Crisis intervention strategies (8th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Chapter 7, “Posttraumatic Stress Disorder” (pp. 145-202)

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