Q. As a result of sexual, emotional, and physical abuse beyond the imagination, I have been diagnosed with PTSD since the age of 17. I have failed in school, failed in relationships (married 4x), failed at working a job, and failed my children (they were temporarily placed in foster care last year, I have them back). I am and have been on medication as long as I can remember. I was a participant in an inpatient specialty unit for PTSD for 2 months. I have had numerous visits to the local psych ward during the past 3 years. Thus, the Social Security disability comes into play. Is my PTSD the cause of my bipolar with MDD laced with psychotic features? Is my PTSD the cause of bipolar, disassociative disorder and anxiety disorder? If so, shouldn’t my mental health team be concentrating on treating the PTSD?

A. It is hard to pinpoint the exact origin of your current mental health disorders. It is certainly possible that the PTSD is the cause of what you are suffering with now. But it does not necessarily matter which disorder is causing your current symptoms. All that your treatment team can do is treat the symptoms that they are presented with currently. If you are experiencing psychotic symptoms, there would be no way to explore the PTSD until the psychotic symptoms are treated. It is important to control your current symptoms before the underlying PTSD issues can be explored and addressed. It is a difficult and complex situation. It more important to treat whatever symptoms you are currently experiencing, from whatever disorders are causing them to occur. Once those symptoms are treated and you are stable, then you and a therapist may be able to explore the PTSD more extensively and more thoroughly. Getting you stable is most important, and that is the job of your treatment team. I hope this helps. Take care.