Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Can a breakup cause PTSD?"
I feel as though I'm suffering from PTSD but no one believes me.
Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental disorder which is triggered by a traumatic event in your life. There is no absolute list of traumatic events that can and cannot cause PTSD. Therefore, a traumatic breakup could cause PTSD. The question is whether you are having symptoms of PTSD that can specifically be tracked to this breakup. PTSD causes symptoms that include unwanted flashbacks of the event in question, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, and nightmares. The symptoms must last longer than 30 days after the event for it to be called PTSD. The symptoms of PTSD and other anxiety disorders are sometimes difficult to distinguish. In addition, PTSD overlaps with many other symptoms of depression. In many cases, people with the diagnosis of PTSD also have diagnoses of depression. Traumatic breakups almost always cause disturbances in mood that can look like depression, anxiety, PTSD or other mental problems. If your breakup happened very recently, then you may be experiencing normal human emotions associated with the event. If the breakup happened many months ago, then you should be evaluated for one of the mentioned mental conditions. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she will listen to your description of your symptoms and determine if there is cause for concern. If there is, then you may warrant referral to a psychiatrist.
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