Why It Can Be Difficult to Admit You Have PTSD

Updated on November 18, 2020

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental illness that shows up after someone is exposed to a traumatic event. Many people associate PTSD with war because it’s a common illness among veterans, but you don’t need to be a soldier to suffer from PTSD.

The threat to your mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing is real. And if you are suffering from PTSD, it’s important you seek treatment. Not only will this mental illness impact your life, but it can have a negative impact on your loved ones as well.

If you or someone you love may be suffering from PTSD, there’s a chance you’re dealing with some level of denial. Denial is common with most mental illnesses, and it’s especially common among those who suffer from PTSD.

In this post, we’re going to review the reasons why it can be difficult to admit you have PTSD in hopes that it may help you or someone else get help.

Social Stigma Surrounding PTSD

Telling someone you suffer from PTSD gives them more information than they’d have if you were suffering from a different mental illness. For example, if you tell someone you suffer from depression, all they know is that you are depressed. On the other hand, when you tell someone you suffer from PTSD, they are likely to become curious about your past trauma. This can lead to uncomfortable questions or discussions.

Another social concern with PTSD is its unpredictability. Everyone has different triggers, and everyone handles their triggers differently. But when someone hears you have PTSD, they may unfairly assume you’re dangerous.

As more people with PTSD talk about the illness, the stigma will naturally fade. In the meantime, remember you get to decide who you tell. As you work with a therapist on your triggers, you can decide which social situations you’re comfortable with.

Fear of Perceived Weakness

Especially when PTSD affects soldiers, the fear of perceived weakness can get in the way of a diagnosis. A common misconception about PTSD is that people suffer because they are weak and cannot handle difficult situations. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. 

PTSD typically manifests as a form of hypervigilance, which is the opposite of surrender. As a form of anxiety, PTSD triggers the fight or flight response within the affected person. And it’s all about self-preservation. 

If you’re worried about admitting to a PTSD diagnosis because you’re afraid of seeming weak, think again. PTSD is far from weakness. 

Trauma comparisons

Many people avoid admitting to PTSD because they worry that their trauma isn’t severe enough. But comparisons are never healthy, especially when it comes to mental health. You don’t have to be a victim of any crime to suffer from PTSD. And what’s traumatic to you is personal. Two people can witness the same violent crime, and it will impact each in different ways. One may suffer from extreme PTSD while it doesn’t impact the other person’s life at all. It doesn’t mean one person is stronger or more mentally fit. In reality, there’s a lot we have to learn about PTSD, so there’s no sense in comparing.

If you or someone you love may suffer from PTSD, there’s one more thing you should know. If left untreated, PTSD will inevitably cause more issues. As we’ve seen in the years after the Vietnam War, PTSD in veterans can lead to addiction and suicide. 

There are many reasons why it can be difficult to admit you have PTSD, but this is a case where something as simple as admission can save a person’s life.

+ posts

Senior Outlook Today is your go-to source for information, inspiration, and connection as you navigate the later years of life. Our team of experts and writers is dedicated to providing relevant and engaging content for seniors, covering topics such as health and wellness, finances, technology and travel.