What's Financial PTSD? What You Need to Know & How You Can Cope

By Sara


Last Updated: April 12, 2023


Financial PTSD, also known as financial trauma, can happen when someone has had large financial stressors in their life.

These can be recurring financial stress from debt to one-time situations like job loss. No matter the type of financial trauma, financial PTSD can have long-term physical, emotional, and behavioral effects on someone, so it’s important to address and talk about this.

Keep reading to learn more about financial PTSD and what you can do to help you cope with it. 



Can financial problems cause PTSD?

If you have faced financial problems in the past or are facing them now, you are more likely to have financial PTSD. The impact financial trauma has on someone can severely impact their mental health. 

Not all financial problems will cause PTSD.

There will always be slight stressors from remembering to pay your monthly rent, but tools like making your payments automatic can help reduce that stress. These low-stress financial things can build up to larger financial problems and cause long-term stress, but managing and controlling your finances can help a lot. 



What triggers financial trauma?

A number of different things can trigger financial trauma. Some main financial triggers are: 

  • Job loss
  • Bankruptcy 
  • Debt
  • Emergencies

Not all of these situations will necessarily cause you to feel financial PTSD, but if you have had past traumatic financial experiences, this can greatly impact your current financial behaviors. Therefore, keeping track of triggers and symptoms is important to help you avoid these stressful situations. 


What are the symptoms of financial PTSD?

If you are curious if you have financial PTSD, there are three areas in your life where symptoms may show up: 

  • Physical
  • Emotional 
  • Behavioral 

You may be experiencing some or all of these symptoms. These may slowly show up in your life but can easily spiral out of control. 


Physical Symptoms 

Financial stress can take a huge toll on your physical well-being. If you have financial stress and trauma in your life, you may have physical symptoms like: 

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Panic attacks 
  • Fatigue 


Emotional Symptoms 

Having financial PTSD can be a very emotionally stressful situation to be in.

If you are constantly worried about your finances, you may exhibit emotional symptoms like: 

  • Anxiety 
  • Depression 
  • Fear 
  • Shame 


Behavioral symptoms 

If you have had financial trauma in your life, you may have behavioral symptoms that impact your relationship with finances.

These behaviors usually lead to a worse relationship with money. 

Behavioral symptoms can be: 

  • Avoiding financial responsibility 
  • Overspending 
  • Small daily purchases 


How do you deal with financial PTSD?

If you are experiencing financial PTSD, there are options to help you cope and, hopefully, learn to manage these triggers more healthily. 

Seeking professional help from a financial counselor, therapist, or advisor is a great place to start.

These professionals have seen and helped many people going through stressful financial situations. In addition, they can provide you with helpful tools and strategies to handle these situations better. 

Strategies from budgeting, setting realistic financial goals, and practicing self-care are also ways to deal with financial PTSD.

If you start working on your finances and have an emergency fund, that situation that may have stressed you out before may not worry you because you have the money. If you also know your triggers, you can try to avoid or prepare for them. 



Final Thoughts 

Financial PTSD from traumatic and extreme financial stress is something many people face.

It’s important to acknowledge this type of PTSD and address it to help those suffering from it.

The symptoms of financial trauma can lead to mental health issues. Seeking help and support from financial professionals, family, and friends are important ways to deal with these situations.

Photo by Kelly


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *