Acute stress reaction and post-traumatic stress disorder

The psychological responses to highly traumatic events are usually divided into two categories: stress reactions and stress disorders. A stress reaction is in principle a normal reaction to an excessively traumatic event and does not always require medical attention. A stress disorder usually requires medical intervention. Consider the possibility of post-traumatic stress disorder if the patient has experienced an exceptionally stressful and psychologically traumatic incident or event within the past six months.