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A 29-year-old member asked:

Since there is stress everywhere everyday, can you have ptsd without one responsible bad causative event?

5 doctor answers10 doctors weighed in
Dr. Byron Law-Yone
Psychiatry 55 years experience
Good question: This is something that is being debated. It is no longer just the big event that causes the disorder it has more to do with your particular brain's response and the magnitude of the fear, terror and panic experienced. For some, non life threatening stress can overwhelm the system and add to the risk of developing ptsd. This is the case where someone has a history of childhood sexual trauma.
Dr. Pamela Pappas
Psychiatry 42 years experience
PTSD: I agree with dr. Law-yone that there does not need to be only "one" responsible bad causative event. Living in a protracted, chronically abusive situation such as being a prisoner of war or growing up in an emotionally, physically, and/or sexually abusive household can impact people tremendously. Our brains can develop abusive neuronal pathways which can be hard to re-route towards health.
Dr. Heidi Fowler
Psychiatry 25 years experience
Yes & No: Everyday stressors & frustrations do not cause ptsd. For simple ptsd, there may be one or a few specific life events which were horrific or life - threatening. For complex ptsd there are usually numerous causative stressors & factors.
Dr. Dheeraj Raina
Psychiatry 29 years experience
No: If by "stress everywhere everyday" you mean the stress of commute, too much to do in too little time, always running behind, etc - then, no whatever stress you feel from day-to-day life would not be considered ptsd.
Dr. Andrew Berry
Clinical Psychology 14 years experience
Threat of death: PTSD is a post trauma reaction to being in the situation of impending real or perceived loss of life, or inability to is scape. Examples of this would come from being in combat situations, or severe physical or sexual abuse. There are degrees of PTSD, it is not a matter of either the patient does or does not have it, it's not all or none.

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Last updated Oct 24, 2017

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