Can You Have PTSD And Not Know It?

Despite being one of today’s best-known psychological disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is also one of the least understood and most controversial. We can experience symptoms of PTSD even if we do not remember the event.

The psychological suffering and agony experienced by most patients are undeniably real. Yet, the period in which people can start experiencing symptoms after a traumatic event can trigger many questions.

People can have PTSD even though they do not recall the experience that triggered the problem. As a result, such people may live with PTSD for years without realizing it.

Can you have PTSD and not know it? This article explores what you need to understand about PTSD.

Typical Symptoms of PTSD

After traumatizing events, sadness, fear, anger, and anxiety can be normal. But, the time at which these emotions manifest is often unpredictable. PTSD symptoms can start immediately, months, or years after the event.

But, one thing is clear; these symptoms significantly affect people’s social and professional life. Although the symptoms differ widely among people, there are four common categories of symptoms:

Intrusive Memories

  • Flashbacks of the traumatic event
  • Recurrent, distressing memories
  • Nightmares
  • Emotional distress


Avoiding places or experiences that can bring back memories of the traumatic event

Changing Emotional and Physical Reactions

  • Being extra cautious of danger
  • Self-destructive behaviors
  • Insomnia
  • Concentration problems
  • Guilt or shame

Changes in Mood and Thought

  • Hopelessness about future
  • Unable to maintain relationships
  • Negative thoughts about self

Causes of PTSD

There are no specific events or experiences that can lead to PTSD. However, the mental health issue can result from a complex mix of various factors. People of all ages, gender, and all works of life can suffer from PTSD. If our relatives or we have been through intense or life-threatening situations and start experiencing mental health issues, it could be PTSD.

PTSD was first diagnosed in military veterans and was originally associated with battlefield experiences. Multiple studies have revealed that various traumatic events can lead to PTSD.

PTSD can result from physical assault and witnessing violent situations or acts. Domestic violence and sexual assault are common causes of PTSD.

Fear and frequent avoidance of traumatic situations such as extreme weather, accidents, or fire can also cause PTSD.

Lastly, inherited vulnerabilities, including anxiety and depression, can cause PTSD.

Is it Possible to Have PTSD without Knowing?

Can you have PTSD and not know it? Yes, the mind has an incredible ability to forget traumatic events while still holding them unconsciously. People who suffer from other trauma can also have PTSD, often without realizing it.

Can you have PTSD without trauma? Yes, although PTSD can manifest as other mental illnesses, including anxiety and depression, sometimes it can be hidden in avoidance and numbness. It’s easy to note a brave soldier coming from war with flashbacks of the combat experiences. But, it is difficult to realize PTSD symptoms in people who have experienced domestic violence and sexual assault.

People can forget they were exposed to traumatic events because the brain does not process and store trauma memories like regular experiences. However, the trauma can remain in the subconscious mind for years without victims realizing they have PTSD.

The feeling of threat can trigger the brain to form and store memories of such situations differently. Consequently, the inability to access memories of such events can be a significant feature of PTSD.

In addition, people with negative beliefs about the world can suffer from PTSD without trauma. For instance, such people can often have the impression that the world is unsafe and that other people shouldn’t be trusted.

It is therefore important to understand changes in our mood, emotions, and psychological experiences to prevent the escalation of PTSD. In addition, destigmatizing mental illnesses in the Miami, FL, area can encourage many people to seek PTSD treatment.

PTSD Evaluation & Treatment in Miami

Answering the question, “can you have PTSD and not know it?” can be challenging for many people. But, it is essential to understand that PTSD can result from multifaceted factors, including forgotten experiences.

If our loved ones or we suspect to have PTSD symptoms even without trauma, it is important to look for a psychiatrist who can diagnose and treat the problem.

Elevate Psychiatry provides a wide range of psychiatric interventions in the Miami, FL, area. At Elevate Psychiatry, our patients are our priority. We provide destigmatizing psychiatry services to patients suffering from different traumas. All our psychiatrists are licensed and have years of experience dealing with patients with different symptoms in the Miami, FL, area.

If you are looking for a psychiatric facility that can diagnose and treat unique and individual mental illnesses, contact us to help you and your loved ones heal from the trauma of PTSD.

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