Post Abortion Stress Syndrome (PASS)
Connection to PTSD
When a person experiences a traumatic event, they will sometimes have difficulty recovering from that experience. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is diagnosed with symptoms such as nightmares, avoidance of situations that bring memories of the trauma, anxiety, depression, and heightened reactions.1
Abortion can be traumatic for some pregnant women, and Post-Abortion Stress Syndrome, or PASS, is the name that has been given to the psychological aftereffect of an abortion experience, based on PTSD. While PASS is not an official term accepted by the APA, it is still widely acknowledged that abortion of unwanted pregnancy may cause sadness, grief, or regret. Symptoms of PASS include feelings of guilt, anxiety, numbness/depression, flashbacks, and suicidal thoughts.2
What are the Signs of Post-Abortion Syndrome?
The symptoms vary from person to person, but generally, commonly reported symptoms include:
- Sadness, or grief of lost life
- Shame or fear of being judged by others
- Anxiety about future pregnancies
- Loss of sleep
If you’re experiencing symptoms of PASS, your feelings are valid; in whatever way, they may surface. You may have developed a fear of what others now think of you, that you might not be able to get pregnant again, or what to do if you encounter another unplanned pregnancy. If you have had a surgical abortion procedure, (in which most cases the patient is fully conscious) it would be understandable to recognize that trauma and the reality of possible flashbacks as effects of abortion.
If you’re experiencing mental health difficulties such as depression, or suicidal thoughts, please reach out to a counselor or healthcare professional.
Recognizing common symptoms and seeking help is the first step toward overcoming PASS. There is no set timeframe to fully recover mentally and emotionally from a traumatic event, but there is hope and healing available. You can call us today to schedule a judgment-free appointment with our Post-Abortion Services Director and begin your healing journey.
1 Medical information on Google – Google Search Help
2 Post Abortion Stress Syndrome (PASS) – Does It Exist? | Psychology Today