Can Mental Abuse Cause PTSD?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Can PTSD be present with mental trauma or a series of related traumatic events? I read the info here on it and its seems deliberate in its definition that it only is consequential to have experienced something “physically” traumatic, as opposed to mentally. Cuz otherwise its me to a tee; What disorder, if any, would it then be? Because everything thing else about PTSD in your information, is completely me.

A: The simple answer is yes, of course. Trauma can result from verbal or psychological abuse as well as physical abuse. If you recognize yourself in the symptoms, then it’s something to take seriously. But self-diagnosis in matters like these is like putting yourself in the hands of a doctor who has only read about illnesses without being taught by experts or having seen up close what the illnesses look like. Self-assessment is always a good place to start but then it’s only wise to follow up with a well-trained clinician. I urge you to make an appointment for an evaluation. A skilled mental health professional will not only help you determine if the diagnosis applies to you but will also make recommendations for what you can do about it. If the symptom list “fits you to a tee,” you are also suffering. By all means, figure out what is wrong. But then start doing what you need to do to make things right.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 14 Jun 2010

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2010). Can Mental Abuse Cause PTSD?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 18, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/06/14/can-mental-abuse-cause-ptsd/