Can a breakup cause PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder)? If you're asking yourself: Can a breakup cause PTSD, then check this out. According to ZocDoc, yes, a breakup can cause PTSD. Of course, the best option of all is to go to a specialist, but here's what ZocDoc reveals on the topic Can a breakup cause PTSD. It would actually be considered PTSD if  the symptoms have lasted more than 30 days. Only a physician can make such diagnosis. In my novel, Elizabeth (main character) claims that the tragic breakup that she went through in the very beginning of the story 'caused a spin in her direction in life and for that she made decisions that affected the rest of her life events (which you will be able to see what they were in the book). Was PTSD what really affected her and made her take those decisions? Or should PTSD never be blamed for her struggles post breakup? You be the judge! Once you read the novel you will find several clues that will lead you to your own conclusions. Here are some of the PTSD symptoms in women / PTSD symptoms in men after a breakup:

Can a breakup cause PTSD? According to my research, here are some of the possible TSD symptoms in women / PTSD symptoms in men:
  • nightmares on the relationship: For example having dreams of your boyfriend cheating on you, depending on what the breakup causes were.
  • having unwanted flashbacks on the breakup.
  • feelings of anxiety.
  • not being able to sleep well.
  • mood swings.
  • feeling emotionally numb.
  • isolating from others.
  • Becoming less interested in activities that used to be of great enjoyment.
  • Not been able to reach career or family goals.
  • Having difficulty concentrating.
  • Having outbursts of anger or irritability.
  • Having feelings on being constantly in danger.
  • Having problems of substance abuse.
  • Having tendencies of becoming unemployed.
  • Having increasing chances of violence in future relationships.
Credit: ZocDoc, ptsd.ne.gov.
Angelique Clark

I do believe this to be the truth. I have never thought of it in this way, but the idea and the symptoms can be associated with a breakup especially a bad one where the other party has cause damage to the person either emotionally or mentally. Some of these could be seen as taking advantage of the person, never reciprocating the affection, throwing them to the side or the next thing over and over again. MMMM I'm going to have to look at this more closely..thanks for the post!


As a social worker studying for licensure, I must disagree. This is not the FULL diagnostic criteria for PTSD. Memories are one thing, flashbacks are a completely different thing. PTSD involves an event where one feels threat of own life or life of a loved one. Unless Domestic violence, rape , or some other major traumatic event occurs, I would have to say NO. And if the other event occurs, the PTSD is caused by the violence or event, not the break up. I suppose it could in rare instances. But one would need to be evaluated by an LCSW, PhD, other mental health professionals or Psychiatrist to make an official determination and proceed with proper treatment.
Contrary to the extensive research you conducted, not only a physician can make this diagnosis. I make this diagnosis on occasional basis with the clients I see.
excerpt from DSM
"The essential feature of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder is the development of characteristic symptoms following exposure to an extreme traumatic stressor involving direct personal experience of an event that involves actual or threatened death or serious injury, or other threat to one's physical integrity; or witnessing an event that involves death, injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of another person; or learning about unexpected or violent death, serious harm, or threat of death or injury experienced by a family member or other close associate (Criterion A1). The person's response to the event must involve intense fear, helplessness, or horror (or in children, the response must involve disorganized or agitated behavior) (Criterion A2). The characteristic symptoms resulting from the exposure to the extreme trauma include persistent reexperiencing of the traumatic event (Criterion B), persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma and numbing of general responsiveness (Criterion C), and persistent symptoms of increased arousal (Criterion D). The full symptom picture must be present for more than 1 month (Criterion E), and the disturbance must cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning (Criterion F).Traumatic events that are experienced directly include, but are not limited to, military combat, violent personal assault (sexual assault, physical attack, robbery, mugging), being kidnapped, being taken hostage, terrorist attack, torture, incarceration as a prisoner of war or in a concentration camp, natural or manmade disasters, severe automobile accidents, or being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. For children, sexually traumatic events may include developmentally inappropriate sexual experiences without threatened or actual violence or injury. Witnessed events include, but are not limited to, observing the serious injury or unnatural death of another person due to violent assault, accident, war, or disaster or unexpectedly witnessing a dead body or body parts. Events experienced by others that are learned about include, but are not limited to, violent personal assault, serious accident, or serious injury experienced by a family member or a close friend; learning about the sudden, unexpected death of a family member or a close friend; or learning that one's child has a life-threatening disease. The disorder may be especially severe or long lasting when the stressor is of human design (e.g., torture, rape). The likelihood of developing this disorder may increase as the intensity of and physical proximity to the stressor increase...."


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