Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Acute Stress Disorder (ASD) are two conditions that can be caused by experiencing or witnessing almost any kind of deep emotional trauma, especially one that is unexpected.
Symptoms of PTSD include emotional numbness, restlessness, anxiety, uncharacteristic irritability or even violent behavior, problems focusing or concentrating, flashbacks (which can be triggered by people, places, things, sounds, smells, etc.), and sleep disturbance. People experiencing PTSD often feel isolated, disconnected, and "different" from others, and it can even begin to affect the most routine activities of everyday life. Symptoms typically surface within three months following a traumatic event and may dissipate within a few months.
ASD is a relatively new trauma-related diagnosis, which was officially assigned a diagnostic category in 1994 to differentiate it from the more widely recognized PTSD. ASD shares many of the same characteristics as PTSD, including emotional numbness, restlessness, anxiety, uncharacteristic irritability, problems focusing or concentrating, flashbacks, and sleep disturbance. In fact, some experts consider ASD a variation of PTSD.