What Is Post-Traumatic Embitterment Disorder?

Do you ever replay feelings and situations in your head?


Ever find yourself analyzing past situations, wondering how you could have responded? Find yourself reliving past emotions – and not the good ones? Unfortunately in life it’s common unfair situations, or injustices, happen to us all. We often find ourselves seeking validation for these feelings; it’s a normal way to cope. 

However, in 2003 German psychiatrist Michael Linden proposed an idea called Post-Traumatic Embitterment Disorder (PTED for short). PTED is defined by the ‘pathological reaction to a life event which, while traumatic, is one recognized within society’. This could be anything from the end of a relationship to losing a job. These resentments can have long lasting effects. PTED is not recognized by the DSM-V (the internationally recognized manual of psychiatric disorders).  

Professor Linden states ‘long lasting resentment can lower the immune system as well as bring on headaches, insomnia and chronic pain. The more you obsess over your resentment, the more your body will suffer.’ Linden also identified that people who work harder or longer on something and then suffer a loss are more likely to experience embitterment. 

It’s also worth noting that apps, like Instagram, can build on these resentments. Joy Sereda, a registered psychotherapist, explains social media will ‘lower self-esteem and form a basis for your resentment.’ In this day and age its so important to be mindful about social media usage, we won’t preach to you and say you must detox – but when that screen time notification pops up, don’t ignore it. Always remember to reach out to loved ones if you are suffering from any mental health issues, we must be kind to ourselves too.