Trauma and psychotic experiences: results from a transnational survey


People with a history of trauma are often seen in clinical practice, as are those who describe hearing voices or seeing things. However, the relationship between these problems is poorly understood. Associations between PTSD and first episode psychosis have previously been discussed on The Mental Elf. Psychosis and trauma also often co-exist (Schafer and Fisher 2011). Psychodynamic interpretations of psychosis as a defense against adverse life events (e.g. Martindale B. and Summers A., 2013) support the idea that trauma leads to psychosis.

However, it’s important to consider the possible explanations here:

Does the trauma cause the psychosis directly?
Does the trauma cause mental health problems such as PTSD, which then causes psychosis?
Might pre-existing mental health problems increase the risk of trauma and psychosis?


I am not sure trauma by itself would be sufficient. I think combined with a latent propensity for psychosis it might well be sufficient for psychosis to develop.


PTSD can include psychotic symptoms


A video clip about a new drug treatment for PTSD involving memory deletion. (Think ‘Ethernal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’). 10 min clip.