Does Financial Stress Cause PTSD-Related Symptoms?

Young Worried Woman Calculating Bills At Home

Have you ever felt like you were being crushed under the weight of your financial problems? Maybe you feel like you’re having a panic attack when it comes time to pay the bills? If so, you’d probably be interested to hear that you aren’t alone, and you may have a newly discovered mental health disorder.

A research team working for Payoff, a financial wellness company, conducted a study recently which found that 23 percent of Americans could be suffering symptoms similar to those associated with post-traumatic stress disorder. As many as 36 percent of Millennials could be plagued with PTSD-like symptoms due to financial stress.

When the research team surveyed more than 2,000 people, they discovered that many of them were in denial about the severity of their financial problems, some were scared they would become homeless, and others were delusion about their ability to repay their debt. The study found that a surprising number of people’s sometimes irrational behavior was being influenced by financial worries.

Payoff’s chief science officer, Galen Buckwalter, Ph. D., said that previous research has been focused on financial stressors for some time now, but has somehow failed to look at the actual symptoms people are having in relation to that stress. He goes on to say that the symptoms they recorded in their study accurately match the diagnostic criteria for PTSD, including:

  • Avoidance
  • Denial
  • Nightmares
  • Paranoia
  • Hypervigilance
  • Anxiety

The researchers are officially labeling the condition Acute Financial Stress, and say that their findings have been somewhat of an “ah-ha” moment for many people looking for answers. Buckwalter says he has received tons of messages from people saying that they have AFS, and that they are happy to finally have a name for the things they have been feeling.

The people at Payoff say they are a little surprised that the discovery wasn’t made sooner considering the amount of people with financial difficulties these days. Some of the common causes for AFS that the researchers point to include:

  • Job loss
  • High debt levels
  • Consistently late payments
  • Defaults
  • Foreclosures
  • Medical expenses
  • Repossessions
  • Evictions
  • Stagnant incomes
  • Lack of savings

If you want to find out whether or not you may have Acute Financial Stress, Payoff has an AFS questionnaire that may be able to tell you.

Washington D.C. bankruptcy lawyer Kevin D. Judd is here to help you achieve your goal of becoming debt free. They have years of experience helping people find the best solutions to their financial problems. 



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