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An acute stress reaction occurs when symptoms develop due to a particularly stressful event. The word acute means the symptoms develop quickly, but do not usually last long.
The events are usually very severe and an acute stress reaction typically occurs after an unexpected life crisis. This might be, for example, a serious accident, sudden bereavement, or other traumatic events.
Road traffic accidents cause many casualties each year and you may be directly or indirectly affected by this kind of exceptionally stressful event. Acute stress reactions may also occur as a consequence of sexual assaults or domestic violence.
Acute stress reactions have been seen in people who experience terrorist incidents or major disasters. They may also occur in people who experience war in their countries. Military personnel are at more risk as a result of extreme experiences during conflicts.
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