Can PTSD be caused by domestic abuse? Absolutely. In fact, any trauma can cause PTSD. Witnessing trauma can also cause it. We serve many people who have developed PTSD from abusive situations and now struggle to heal that piece of the puzzle in their journey to a healthier life.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (and in some cases Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) causes the human body to react in an extreme manner to a situation that is triggering to the brain. For example, someone who experienced abuse from their mother as a child may get upset when they see a little girl take her mother’s hand to cross the street.  Another person who is triggered might even have a panic attack and/or need to turn away from the scene. PTSD can also take a more subtle approach, such as not remembering all the details of a situation or the avoidance of people or situations that remind one of the traumatic events.

“I shudder and have to turn away if I see a gun.” One gal says, “It doesn’t matter if it’s hanging over someone’s fireplace, behind a glass case at the store or in the holster of the kindest cop I know. I will never forget the panic when my abuser pointed one at me. My heart races and I get very scared.”

“Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is commonly associated with physical sources of trauma, such as war, physical assault, or sexual assault. But mental health experts have come to realize that emotional abuse can lead to PTSD as well. However, this type of trauma falls under a distinct type of PTSD known as complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD)…” (Bridges to Recovery)

The good news is that with time, patience and professional care, PTSD symptoms can be greatly reduced and even healed. We’ve met many who have made it through the heavy (and often muddy) waters of PTSD in order to live the abundant life that God has planned for each one.

Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and burst their bonds apart. Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! For he shatters the doors of bronze and cuts in two the bars of iron. Psalm 107:13-16 ESV

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10 ESV