Life-changing online care for acute stress disorder

Our providers understand the challenges of ASD, and have real-world experience helping people just like you.

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Our Care

Expert care, tailored to you

Different people experience ASD in different ways. That’s why our providers work 1:1 with you to personalize treatment to your unique needs.

Personalized Psychiatry

When medication is necessary, our psychiatric providers analyze 100+ data points to determine the most tolerable and effective prescription for you.

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Clinically-Proven Therapy

Our program combines cognitive and behavioral therapy with independent skill practice—all of which have been clinically proven to work for a wide range of symptoms.

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Mental Health condition

Understanding acute stress disorder

The psychological and physical symptoms of ASD can be very distressing to someone. Psychological and behavioral symptoms of ASD may include flashbacks, nightmares or intrusive memories, avoiding anything that reminds them of the event.

What is ASD?

Everyone processes traumatic experiences in their own way. While some people may be able to cope well with stressful or frightening events, other people may develop what is known as acute stress disorder.

Acute stress disorder (ASD) is a mental health condition that may be a precursor to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). People who struggle with acute stress disorder have recently experienced or witnessed a deeply traumatic event. Examples of such events include natural disasters (e.g. floods, fires, earthquakes), physical or sexual assault, car accidents, the sudden death of a loved one, or receiving a life-threatening diagnosis.

Symptoms of ASD:

  • Difficulty remembering the event
  • Dissociation
  • An inability to experience positive emotions
  • Anxiety
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating

Someone with ASD may also experience physical symptoms such as a pounding heart, nausea, and difficulty breathing.


Virtual, dedicated support every step of the way

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1:1 Video Sessions

Let your provider know how you’re feeling, get to know you, and provide 1:1 support.

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Anytime Messaging

Get questions or concerns off your chest between video visits by messaging your provider at any time.

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Interactive Lessons

Learn how to integrate new thought and behavior patterns into your daily life.

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Proactive Progress Tracking

Complete weekly check-ins so your provider can track your progress and, if necessary, adjust your treatment and/or medication.

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Our plan options

Affordable help, with or without insurance

Because quality mental health care shouldn’t be out of reach for anyone.



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or $95/month

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or $299/month

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+ Therapy

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or $349/month

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Free Assessment

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86% of our members feel better within 12 weeks.

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What’s on your mind?

If your question isn’t answered below, view our full list of FAQs here.

Brightside is available to people 18 years and older in the states where Brightside operates who believe they may be experiencing depression and may benefit from treatment.

Remote care is not a good fit for people with certain conditions or situations. These include (but are not limited to):

  • Previous suicide attempt or active suicide planning
  • Ongoing, high risk self-harm behavior
  • Recent involuntary hospitalization for psychiatric reasons
  • Schizophrenia or any symptoms of psychosis
  • Certain severities of Bipolar Disorder and symptoms of mania
  • Substance abuse problems
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Eating disorder with high-risk symptoms
  • Kidney or liver disease, seizures, or long QT (for Psychiatry plan only)

Our providers do not treat, and do not prescribe for adhd.

If any of these describe you, it’s best for you to be seen by a provider in person so you can get the care that’s right for you.

Brightside makes it easy to get top quality depression care from the privacy of home.

Here’s how Psychiatry works:

  1. Take the assessment: Answer questions about yourself to provide the information your provider will need to thoroughly evaluate your situation.
  2. Connect with a psychiatric provider: Get matched with an expert psychiatric provider for a comprehensive video consultation. Share how you’re feeling, then decide on the best next steps — together. These conversations normally last about 15 minutes to review your situation, discuss your care plan, and answer any questions you may have. 
  3. Follow your care plan: If the provider chooses to prescribe, your medication will be sent to your local pharmacy. Your plan also includes digital therapy, and self-care tools you can use at your own pace.
  4. Make progress: We’ll ask you to tell us about your symptoms and side effects weekly, allowing the provider to monitor your progress and make any necessary changes to your care plan, so you can get the best results.

Here’s how Therapy works:

  1. Take the assessment: Tell us what you’re experiencing, and we’ll help you understand what it means.
  2. Connect with a Therapist: Connect with an expert, licensed therapist by messaging and with access to one 45-minute video appointment included with your subscription each week. You will continue to have Unlimited messaging support and guidance to help you build skills and feel better.
  3. Complete sessions: Complete personalized, self-paced audio lessons and practice exercises, building the evidence-based skills and habits you need to overcome your depression and anxiety.
  4. Make Progress: Report back on what’s working well for you and where you want to go deeper with the option to purchase additional video sessions if you choose. Your therapist will help guide you through your personalized program so you see the best results.

When scheduling your first appointment, you can browse all of our available providers in your state. Take a look at their profiles and check open times to find the best fit for you. Every Brightside provider undergoes a rigorous hiring and vetting process to ensure the highest quality care.

A mental health provider will diagnose OCD by asking you about the following three things:

  • Obsessive thoughts & compulsive behaviors
  • Mental or psychological distress
  • Consequences in important relationships, both at work and in your personal life

A diagnosis of ASD can be made three days to one month after a traumatic event. While ASD is a short-term condition—and many people get better on their own—some people may benefit from timely diagnosis and treatment.

Many of the symptoms of ASD are almost identical to those of PTSD. However, a diagnosis of PTSD will only be considered if the symptoms persist for more than 30 days or first appear more than one month after the trauma has occurred.

Though many people who are diagnosed with ASD do not go on to develop PTSD, it is thought that having ASD may increase a person’s risk of developing PTSD. A prompt diagnosis and treatment of ASD can help people manage the condition and reduce the risk of developing PTSD.

Everyone processes traumatic experiences uniquely, and an event which does not trigger ASD in one person may trigger the condition in another.

With that being said, a variety of factors may increase the risk of someone developing the condition.

These factors include:

  • Being female
  • A history of trauma
  • A history of mental health conditions
  • The severity of the traumatic event
  • Neurotic personality traits
  • Avoidance as a coping mechanism

It is normal to feel afraid or uneasy following a traumatic event. However, if your symptoms have lasted anywhere from three days to one month directly following a traumatic event, you may be suffering from ASD.

Make an appointment with your healthcare provider to discuss treatment options that may be right for you.

From medication to therapy, there are a variety of treatment options to help with the symptoms of acute stress disorder.

Medication is not typically a first-line treatment for ASD. If recommended by a healthcare provider at all, benzodiazepines (clonazepam, etc.) will typically be used only in low doses, for the short-term relief of severe anxiety symptoms. Benzodiazepines carry the risk of dependence if used long-term and may also increase the risk of developing PTSD.

Beta-blockers may also be prescribed to help with some of the physical symptoms of ASD, such as a pounding heart, nausea, and difficulty breathing.

While there are many different types of therapy, trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TFCBT) is the top recommended treatment for ASD. If used in a timely manner, TFCBT has been proven to reduce the likelihood of ASD developing into PTSD.

TFCBT helps someone become aware of and adjust unhelpful thought patterns and behaviors related to the trauma. TFCBT is usually started no sooner than two weeks after the traumatic event, and consists of six weekly sessions of 60 to 90 minutes.

Self-Care, Coping, and Support
Many treatment plans for ASD involve aspects of self-care. Aspects of self-care can include:

  • Maintaining a healthy diet
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Exercising on a regular basis
  • Managing stress & practicing mindfulness
  • Engaging in enjoyable/creative activities
  • Taking prescribed medications correctly and discussing any potential side effects with your healthcare providers
  • Watching for early signs that your symptoms may be worsening, and having a plan in place for how to respond if they do
  • Surrounding yourself with positive and supportive influences
  • Talking to trusted family members and friends about how you are feeling

Personal safety is also a major part of the self-care work when healing from a traumatic event. After a single traumatic episode, people are better able to process the experience when they know that they and their loved ones are safe.


If you’re in emotional distress, text HOME to connect with a counselor immediately.


Call or text the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for 24/7 emotional support.


If you’re having a medical or mental health emergency, call 911 or go to your local ER.