Differences between PTSD & Complex PTSD. Brilliant website for support and understanding. ‘Healing From Complex Trauma & PTSD/CPTSD’

Differences between PTSD & Complex PTSD



PTSD – can be caused by a one-time life/short lived existence threatening trauma, or sexual trauma.



Some examples of this trauma – car crash, rape, attack with guns/weapons (store hold up). There are many criterion that need to be met for PTSD diagnosis, including re-experiencing symptoms, avoidance symptoms, negative cognitions, mood and arousal.



Complex PTSD – is caused by severe, prolonged, ongoing trauma, or multiple types of trauma, either life threatening, or complex trauma in childhood, within a captivity situation where the child, or adult doesn’t perceive there to be a viable escape.



Complex PTSD, is often all of the PTSD symptoms, plus other significant impacting symptoms seen within other diagnoses such as major depressive disorder, borderline personality disorder, bipolar, plus somatic disorders eg. fibromyalgia and digestive related disorders, like IBS, or Crohns and other health related illness.



Examples of complex trauma that cause Complex PTSD are – prolonged severe child abuse (due to age and immaturity of brain development), prolonged physical abuse, prolonged severe domestic violence, kidnapping, hostages, prisoner of war.



PTSD is a continuum, and can range from only mildly life impacting (can still work etc), to completely disabling and severely life impacting and is manageable to varying degrees depending on the severity and the persons own capacity to engage in healing.



Complex PTSD, will be the severe end of the PTSD continuum, plus many other complex severe symptoms, and is far more treatment and therapy resistant, far more complex to treat and manage. They are very different disorders.



My advice is always where possible seek therapy with a mental health professional trained in trauma and PTSD and trauma related disorders.



Once PTSD symptoms have occurred for over a year, they are likely to be lifelong and will not go away untreated. Seeking help is vital, learning the PTSD strategies are vital.



If Complex PTSD, the therapist needs to have considerable insight into the complex effects of complex trauma, as opposed to one off trauma.



There is hope and healing and I am determined to heal as much as I am capable of healing.

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