Other Anyone else have psychosis related ptsd?

Hush92

Confident
Hi! I haven't posted on here in ages. I was diagnosed with PTSD at the age of I think 22. My PTSD was caused due to the symptoms of my mental illness, which is schizoaffective disorder (one of the psychotic disorders). It turns out a lifetime of being tormented/abused/tortured by hallucinations & constantly fearing for your life via paranoid delusions is traumatizing, who would have guessed.

Anyways I rarely ever see anyone make posts about this. So I wanted to see if anyone else on here has ptsd for the same reason, and also bring it to awareness. It's often left off of lists of traumas (including on this site lol) and it doesn't seem to be very well known that mental illness symptoms themselves can in fact cause ptsd. I am also on a forum for people with psychotic disorders and many people there shared similar feelings of being traumatized by their disorder, not all just from symptoms but some were traumatized by forced hospitalization experiences/forced medication or other things that happened to them when they were in an episode and not in control of themselves.

It took years for me to be diagnosed with PTSD despite developing symptoms shortly after my first major psychotic episode at 16 because therapists just could not recognize that what I had been through was traumatic. They would say things repeatedly like "It sounds like you've been severely traumatized, are you sure you haven't been abused?" Or something similar and I'd be like well from people no, but from hallucinations I have been **TW** raped & otherwise sexually abused, verbally abused and physically abused on a daily basis (scratched, hair pulled, pinched, punched, etc.) And when it happens, I am not aware it isn't real because it feels just like someone is actually doing those things to me.

Psychosis is hell, and though mental health professionals tend to acknowledge that for some reason they don't recognize the traumatizing aspect. I am very grateful to the kind and highly educated therapist who specialized in trauma who was able to recognize ptsd in me and get me a diagnosis, which allowed me a lot of relief and opened new treatment pathways for me. Just goes to show, always look for a therapist who specializes in trauma for trauma therapy!! (That sounds like common sense right? Lol)

Anyhow that's all I have to share for now. If you have psychosis related ptsd as well please share how you came to be diagnosed or your story if you feel comfortable!!
 

Weemie

MyPTSD Pro
I'll tread as lightly as I can here, because I do think your experiences are valid. But I suspect the reason why you had a hard time getting a diagnosis is because the diagnostic criteria of PTSD specifically excludes such things as external drug use, other mental illnesses && hallucinations. This criteria is Criterion H:

Criterion H: exclusion (required)
Symptoms are not due to medication, substance use, or other illness.

However, as we grow and learn as a species we are becoming more aware of exactly how our internal states can affect our neuroanatomy. Take this study. We can see by reading this that there is very clearly an overlap of traumatic experiences and PTSD symptoms, when our brains perceive these events as real. But typically, dreams and psychosis do not qualify as criterion A stressors.

I suspect your current clinician diagnosed you due to the depth and breadth of your distress && so that they could employ therapies that work for PTSD, which I am positive will assist you with your symptoms. (Bearing in mind as I speak that what the DSM V says is PTSD, and what is PTSD, are not always congruent -> I am not saying you cannot have PTSD, just providing an explanation as to why your clinicians have been resistant in the past.)

While I do not relate to having PTSD caused by psychosis, I have been diagnosed formally with PTSD, and mine features elements of secondary psychosis. This means that I hallucinate (auditory, tactile, sometimes visual but those are rarer) and sometimes I get delusions as well, such as like when I went to the hospital I was convinced they would call the police and the police would conspire against me to torture me and kill my family. I mix up the past and present a lot, etc.

For me, my psychotic symptoms cause me lots of distress on a regular basis. My tactile hallucinations especially as I will feel bugs crawling on me, objects inserted in me, hands over my mouth and nose, clawing at me, things like that. It's very unsettling and those are the worst forms of my flashbacks, which become so vivid as to qualify as hallucinatory. These cause me severe distress so I can absolutely understand why you would be traumatized by your experiences. Mine are re-traumatizing for me as well.

I think this is because of the extent of trauma I was exposed to at the young age I was exposed to it. Combined with prolonged solitary confinement and malnourishment, my brain did not develop correctly at all. It's all just a big pile of noodles. Me wormly.
 
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