25 Of The Best Songs About PTSD

Written by Dan Farrant

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a serious mental health condition that can affect anyone who has experienced a traumatic event. It is often associated with veterans, but it can also affect first responders, survivors of abuse or violence, and people who have gone through other harrowing experiences.

Music has long been used as a form of therapy for those dealing with PTSD. Its ability to connect with us emotionally and bring comfort during difficult times is powerful.

In this list, we’ve compiled 25 of the best songs about PTSD that explore the struggles, emotions, and healing process of this condition. Let’s start!

1. “PTSD” by G Herbo Ft. Chance The Rapper, Juice WRLD, And Lil Uzi Vert

First on our list is a song with PTSD in the title. In “PTSD,” G Herbo — along with Chance The Rapper, Juice WRLD, and Lil Uzi Vert — opens up about their experiences with PTSD.

Through powerful lyrics that speak of growing up in a violent environment and losing loved ones, they shed light on the struggles of living and coping with this condition: “I got a war zone on inside of my head / I made it on my own, they said I’d be in jail or dead / I’ve seen my brothers fall over and over again.”

The tragic passing of Juice WRLD, whose verse on the song references his own struggles with PTSD, adds a poignant layer to the already emotional track. The song acts as both a tribute and a means for the rappers to grieve the passing of their friends and colleagues.

2. “ROCKSTAR” By DaBaby Ft. Roddy Ricch

Up next, we have a song with PTSD in the lyrics. DaBaby‘s “ROCKSTAR,” featuring Roddy Ricch, is a powerful track that delves into the traumatic experiences that come with living a dangerous and reckless lifestyle.

In one verse, DaBaby shares his experience of waking up in cold sweats due to the PTSD he experiences from past violent incidents, including one where he had to defend himself and his family by taking a life.

The song also draws parallels between the rockstar lifestyle and that of a rapper, as they both deal with fame, success, and the constant threat of violence. Through their lyrics, DaBaby and Ricch explore the toll this lifestyle has on their mental health and their loved ones.

3. “PTSD (Warrior Built)” By Tech N9ne Ft. Jay Trilogy, And Krizz Kaliko

Survivors of traumatic experiences, especially in the military, often struggle with mental health conditions like PTSD. Tech N9ne‘s “PTSD (Warrior Built),” featuring Jay Trilogy and Krizz Kaliko, gives voice to this struggle on what it feels like to experience PTSD firsthand.

A song that mentions PTSD indirectly, the lyrics paint a picture of someone who feels misunderstood and isolated, unable to express the weight of their experiences.

The lines “Don’t try to talk to me like you know what this is / I only can see this world from the inside” highlight the disconnect between those who have never experienced PTSD and those who have.

Through powerful lyrics and personal experiences, Tech N9ne and his collaborators bring attention to the struggles of those living with PTSD and the need for more understanding and support.

4. “Relentless” By Polo G

Growing up in the notoriously violent neighborhoods of Chicago, rapper Polo G has faced his fair share of trauma and adversity. In his song “Relentless,” he reflects on the effects of this environment on his mental health, including struggles with PTSD and survivor’s guilt.

The lyrics depict the brutal reality of life in these neighborhoods, with lines like “White folks starin’ like I don’t belong / What about them nights I had to suffer?” and “Got PTSD from that battlefield, I’m a soldier / In Section 8, we was going through it, and them nights got colder.”

Even as he achieved success as a rapper, Polo G continues to grapple with the effects of his past. Through Polo G’s raw and introspective lyrics, “Relentless” sheds light on the lasting impact of violence and crime, as well as racism toward those who have been forced to live in poverty.

5. “PTSD” By Pop Smoke

Cities like New York, where violence is a daily reality for many people, can have a profound impact on the mental health of its inhabitants. In his song “PTSD,” rapper Pop Smoke shares his experiences with PTSD and how it affects his daily life.

Through vivid and heartbreaking lyrics, Pop Smoke portrays an individual deeply affected by the violence and trauma around him: “My PTSD startin’ to kick in, so I gotta get high / Trey shot that nigga out my car, so now I gotta get low … / My lil’ homie die and I ain’t drop a tear / I just rolled a spliff and put it in the air.”

His honesty and vulnerability in sharing his struggles with PTSD serve as an important reminder to prioritize mental health and seek help when needed.

6. “Zombie” By The Cranberries

​​Violence on a larger scale can also have a profound impact on individuals and communities. In the song “Zombie,” The Cranberries address the conflict in Northern Ireland, specifically referencing the 1993 bombing in Warrington.

The powerful lyrics describe how violence and warfare become ingrained in society, passed down through generations: “It’s the same old theme, since 1916 / In your head, in your head, they’re still fightin’ / with their tanks and their bombs and their bombs and their guns.”

The song is a poignant commentary on the devastating effects of war and the struggle to move on from its aftermath. It serves as a reminder of the toll violence takes on people, even long after conflicts have ended.

7. “PTSD” By YX

While most of the songs we’ve listed so far are filled with rage and frustration, YX‘s “PTSD” takes a more introspective approach to the topic. Instead, this song delves into the daily struggles of living with PTSD.

The lines “I just give me all this pills, just to keep my mental still … / I got nightmares at night so I never slept right / Slowly, my mind breaking” reflect the constant battle with one’s mind and the search for relief.

By sharing his experiences, YX brings attention to the often overlooked aspect of medication and its impact on mental health. “PTSD” is a powerful reminder that there is no easy fix for those living with the condition, but it also offers hope in knowing that they are not alone.

8. “Jocelyn Flores” By XXXTENTACION

Witnessing the death of someone close to you can have a devastating impact on mental health, but the pain and trauma of watching a colleague take their own life is unfathomable. In “Jocelyn Flores,” XXXTENTACION raps about his real-life experience of witnessing the suicide of someone he worked with.

The raw and emotional lyrics express the confusion, guilt, and pain that comes with such a traumatic event: “Post-traumatic stress got me fucked up / Been fucked up since the couple months … / I’ll be feelin’ pain just to hold on / and I don’t feel the same, I’m so numb.”

XXXTENTACION’s survivor’s guilt over the death of Flores has also led him to dedicate another song, “Revenge,” to her memory. These songs bring attention to the lasting effects of trauma and how it can deeply affect a person’s mental health.

9. “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder” By Paroahe Monch

Life often doesn’t give us a break, and for Pharoahe Monch, it seemed like every turn was filled with trauma. In “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder,” the rapper opens up about his past struggles with mental health, including two near-death experiences.

Through his powerful lyrics, he expresses the weight that these experiences have had on him: “My life is like a complicated mathematical puzzle … / Seen death twice, it’s ugly motherfucker man … / I put the gun to my brain / but first I wrote a note to explain.”

Harrowing as it is, Monch’s song also serves as a reminder that even in the darkest of moments, there is always hope and support available. If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, reach out for help. You are not alone.

10. “PTSD” By Omen Ft. Mereba, Deante’ Hitchcock, And St. Beauty

How we experience life shapes us in ways we may not even realize. In “PTSD,” rapper Omen teams up with Mereba, Deante’ Hitchcock, and musical duo St. Beauty to reflect on past experiences that have left a lasting impact on their mental health.

Each artist shares personal stories of trauma, from violence and bullying to the loss of loved ones. The lyrics capture the weight of these experiences and how they continue to affect the artists: “My soul done rained so much on my heart / Really, I don’t know where to start / The irony of finding self in the dark.”

As listeners, we are reminded that everyone has their own struggles and battles. It’s important to be understanding and supportive toward others who may be dealing with mental health issues.

11. “ASMR” By 21 Savage

Experiencing a close encounter with death can have a profound impact on one’s mental well-being. In a revealing moment on “ASMR,” rapper 21 Savage shares his personal battles, recounting being shot on his 21st birthday and the loss of his closest friend.

Through vivid lyrics, he expresses the weight of these events: “I done did a lot in the streets and them facts (21) / PTSD like I came from Iraq (on God).” As much as he tries to move on, the trauma continues to haunt him, causing ongoing struggles with his mental health.

With his honest and raw storytelling, 21 Savage reminds us that even those who seem tough on the outside may be dealing with internal battles. Mental health should never be ignored or dismissed, and it’s important to seek help if needed.

12. “PTSD” By $crim

There are memories that we wish we could erase, but for those with PTSD, they can feel impossible to escape. Rapper $crim‘s haunting track “PTSD” delves into the struggles of living with these intrusive memories and how they can ultimately lead to mental distress.

Through his brutally honest lyrics, $crim expresses the desperation and hopelessness that comes with PTSD: “Somebody send me some help … / Baby, wanna condemn me? / I see it all, I see my ending.” The references to suicide also highlight the severity of this mental health disorder.

It’s a powerful reminder that PTSD is not just something that can be shrugged off. It’s a real and debilitating condition that requires understanding and support from both individuals and society as a whole.

13. “Expectations” By Wale Ft. 6LACK

Post-traumatic stress can affect not only those who have experienced physical violence. It can also affect anyone who has gone through any event that left them emotionally scarred.  In “Expectations,” rapper Wale explores the negative impact of expectations on one’s well-being.

Through his lyrics, he reveals the ongoing struggles he faces as a black man in society: “I sacrifice my world to a world that ignore me / black man in therapy, ’cause white terror don’t sleep.”

The mention of using drugs to cope with PTSD also touches on the prevalence of substance abuse as a form of self-medication.

Alongside rapper 6lack, Wale sheds light on the harsh realities of living with PTSD and how societal pressures can add to its weight. It’s a reminder to be mindful of our expectations and the impact they can have on others, as well as ourselves.

14. “War Baby” By Roddy Ricch

When you’re not born into a life of privilege, you have to fight harder for survival and success. Rapper Roddy Ricch knows this firsthand, as he grew up in the rough conditions of the projects. In “War Baby,” he reflects on his journey and how it has shaped him

The lyrics “Post-traumatic stress, I know the war changed me / Had to bend back but they could never break me” is a testament to his resilience and strength in the face of adversity.

His story serves as an inspiration to those who may be going through similar struggles, showing that they, too, can rise above their circumstances. And while PTSD may have changed him, it only made him stronger in the end.

15. “Numb” By Linkin Park

When the symptoms of PTSD get too overwhelming, sometimes the only response is to shut down and become numb. Linkin Park‘s “Numb” captures this feeling of detachment and exhaustion that comes with living with PTSD.

The lines “I’ve become so numb, I can’t feel you there / Become so tired, so much more aware” speak to the emotional and mental toll that PTSD can take on individuals. While numbing one’s self to the pain could provide temporary relief, it’s not a healthy long-term coping mechanism.

The raw emotion conveyed in the song makes it an ideal anthem for individuals battling PTSD. It offers a cathartic release and empathy for those grappling with emotional numbness and exhaustion while constantly combatting their condition.

16. “Immortal” By J. Cole

Death is something that we all have to face eventually, but for those living in dangerous and violent environments, it can be a constant threat. In “Immortal,” J.Cole delves into the reality of death from the perspective of an artist and that of his drug dealer friend.

The lyrics “Have you ever served a fiend with a pocket full of soap? / Nigga, I can tell you things that you probably shouldn’t know” give insight into the dark and dangerous world that Cole’s friend was a part of. He also touches on the impact of this lifestyle on mental health with lines like “Flashbacks to the pain, wakin’ up, cold sweats.”

Confronting life’s harsh realities can often create a sense of immortality in individuals as they become numb to the constant threat of death. But through his music, J. Cole challenges this mentality and encourages listeners to value their lives and the lives of others.  

17. “Battle Scars” By Guy Sebastian Ft. Lupe Fiasco

You never know the battles someone else is facing just by looking at them. In “Battle Scars,” Guy Sebastian and Lupe Fiasco sing about the invisible scars individuals carry from their past experiences, including trauma.

The lines “Now you’re down on the ground, screaming ‘medic’ / The only thing that comes is the post-traumatic stresses” are a reflection of the struggle and isolation that come with living with PTSD. No matter how much one tries to protect themselves, the scars from their past can still haunt them.

Through their powerful collaboration, Sebastian and Fiasco bring attention to the need for proper support and care for individuals dealing with mental health issues such as PTSD. They remind us to be more compassionate and understanding toward the battles others may be fighting silently.

18. “Mother I Sober” By Kendrick Lamar Ft. Beth Gibbons

A deviation from Kendrick Lamar‘s usual hard-hitting, politically charged music, “Mother I Sober” is a deeply personal and introspective track. Lamar reflects on his family’s experiences with trauma and the intergenerational impact it has had on their lives.

The lines “This is post-traumatic black families and a sodomy, today is still active / So I set free myself from all the guilt that I thought I made” touch on the traumatic history of black families in America and how it continues to affect them today.

The addition of Beth Gibbons‘ hauntingly beautiful voice adds to the depth and emotion of the song. Through this powerful collaboration, Lamar brings attention to the effects of trauma on families and the importance of healing and breaking free from its grasp to move forward.

19. “I Wish You Would” By DJ Khaled Ft. Kanye West And Rick Ross

A collaboration between DJ Khaled, Kanye West, and Rick Ross, “I Wish You Would” is a powerful reflection on the trauma of living in a violent and dangerous neighborhood.

Kanye’s rap verse stands out with its raw and poignant lyrics about his hometown of Chicago, where violence and murders are rampant. The lines “These niggas really is out here … / The block is at war, post-traumatic stress” highlights the harsh reality of living in such an environment.

The references to running out of pills and robbing a CVS also emphasize the effects that trauma and violence can have on individuals, leading them to turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms.

With this song, the artists bring attention to the ongoing issue of violence in communities and the need for support and resources to address its effects on individuals.

20. “Popular Monster” By Fallin In Reverse

People often invalidate others’ struggles and dismiss them as just a phase, not realizing the depth and impact of trauma. In “Popular Monster,” Ronnie Radke of Falling in Reverse addresses this issue, highlighting his own battle with depression and questioning if it is just a phase or a result of post-traumatic stress.

The lyrics “Is this post-traumatic stressing or am I suppressing rage? / And my doctor tries to tell me that I’m going through a phase” is a painful depiction of how societal attitudes toward mental health can be dismissive, even from professionals.

Through their music, Falling in Reverse brings awareness to the complexities of trauma and its effects on mental health. They show that it is not just a phase or something that can easily be brushed off but a legitimate struggle that requires understanding and support.

21. “Where Is The Love?” By Black Eyed Peas Ft. The Game

Up next, the Black Eyed Peas‘ hit song “Where Is the Love?” addresses various social justice issues and calls for love and unity in the face of violence, discrimination, and injustice.

The verse by rapper The Game specifically mentions the murder of children and police violence, which, unfortunately, are still relevant issues today. These events could lead to trauma and PTSD for those affected, as well as a lack of trust in authority figures.

With its catchy beat and thought-provoking lyrics, “Where Is the Love?” continues to be a powerful call for change and a reminder of the importance of honoring and loving one another despite our differences.

22. “’Til It Happens To You” By Lady Gaga

One thing that’s not often talked about is the trauma that sexual assault survivors experience. Lady Gaga‘s powerful song “’Til It Happens to You” sheds light on this issue, highlighting the emotional and mental toll it takes on victims, including experiencing symptoms of PTSD.

A survivor herself, Lady Gaga speaks to those who trivialize the feelings of sexual assault survivors, conveying that true understanding only comes from experiencing the trauma firsthand.

This invalidating attitude toward victims’ experiences is all too common, adding to their trauma and making it difficult for them to heal.

Through her music and activism, Lady Gaga brings attention to the reality of sexual assault and the need for support and compassion toward survivors. Her powerful message resonates with many, helping bring awareness and understanding to a sensitive yet important issue.

23. “I Believe You” By FLETCHER

A ballad about surviving sexual assault and the trauma that follows it, FLETCHER‘s “I Believe You” is a powerful and emotional song that captures the struggle of healing from such a traumatic experience.

The lyrics describe some of the symptoms of PTSD following the assault, such as recurring flashbacks and panic attacks: “It’s the sick to your stomach feeling with a smile on your face / It’s the memory you ignore, but you can’t erase.”

Despite the melancholic tone of the song, it ultimately offers a message of hope and support. The title itself is a powerful statement, conveying that there are people who believe in survivors and stand with them on their journey toward healing.

24. “Alive” By Sia

Trauma survivors often find solace in unexpected ways and places, as depicted in Sia‘s powerful song “Alive.” The lyrics describe retreating to the back of one’s mind to cope with difficult experiences but also finding strength and resilience within oneself.

The line “I saw my life in a stranger’s face / and it was mine” speaks to the feeling of disconnect and dissociation that can happen after a traumatic event. Ultimately, the song celebrates the survivor’s ability to rise up and move forward, even in the face of adversity.

Sia’s soulful voice and emotional lyrics make “Alive” an anthem for those who have faced trauma and found the strength to keep going. It serves as a reminder that we are all capable of overcoming our struggles and coming out even stronger on the other side.

25. “Safe And Sound” By Taylor Swift Ft. The Civil Wars

We end this list with a song that provides solace to those affected by war, inspired by the dystopian themes of The Hunger Games. Taylor Swift‘s “Safe and Sound” is a hauntingly beautiful ballad that captures the fear and destruction of war but also offers a glimmer of hope. 

The lyrics describe a world on fire and the need to hold on to something, even when all seems lost. The mix of Swift’s soft vocals and The Civil Wars‘ harmonies create an ethereal and soothing atmosphere, making “Safe and Sound” a comforting song for those who have experienced trauma.

It serves as a reminder for survivors and those amid a war that there is always something or someone they can hold onto, even in the darkest times.

Summing Up Our List Of Post-Traumatic Stress Songs 

So that’s a wrap! These songs are just a few examples of the powerful and emotional ways music can shed light on post-traumatic stress and the journey toward healing.

Whether it’s through personal experiences, advocacy, or simply offering a message of hope and understanding, these artists have used their platform to bring attention to an important topic that affects so many.

As we continue to raise awareness and support for those living with PTSD, let’s also turn to music as a source of comfort, empathy, and inspiration. If you have other songs in mind, feel free to share them with us and keep the conversation going!

Photo of author

Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 15 years, helping hundreds of thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. He plays the guitar, piano, bass guitar and double bass and loves teaching music theory.