Psychiatry Fast Five Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Acute Stress Disorder?

Stephen Soreff, MD


February 08, 2017

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is an important facet of ASD treatment. In CBT, patients can be desensitized to painful memories via repeated controlled exposures and may undergo exposure to avoided situations, either in vivo or via guided imagery and imagination. Other techniques include cognitive restructuring (changing destructive schema to more constructive perceptions) and instruction in relaxation techniques.

CBT is particularly important for certain individuals, such as EMS responders, who may encounter numerous traumatic situations in the course of their work. Rescue workers may develop the same symptoms as victims, including those of ASD or PTSD. As many as 1 in 3 rescue workers develop PTSD.

In post-traumatic-event interventions, affected individuals should not be encouraged to ventilate feelings at high levels; this can lead to contagion and flooding rather than calming and an improved ability to cope with feelings. The individual's defenses, including denial, should be respected. An educational approach may allow victims to review the event without feeling overwhelmed.

For more on the treatment of ASD, read here.


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