When your brain is wired for fear and distrust, it’s difficult to be comfortable with anyone. Living with complex PTSD can trigger intense emotional flashbacks, making it difficult to control emotions, leading to severe depression, suicidal thoughts, or difficulty managing anger.
What is Complex PTSD?
Complex PTSD develops due to long periods of dealing with intense traumatic experiences and an inability to make sense of them. The most common type of PTSD is an anxiety disorder caused by a single traumatic event, such as a car accident or natural disaster. Complex PTSD, on the other hand, is more associated with a prolonged period of traumatic events in one’s life.
Complex PTSD vs. PTSD
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a disorder that is common among war veterans and trauma survivors of mental or physical abuse, violence, natural disasters, and death. It’s typically portrayed in movies and television as a condition affecting war veterans and trauma survivors. Having complex PTSD, on the other hand, is a unique diagnosis and experience. C-PTSD is a type of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) more common in children.
PTSD and C-PTSD can be the same thing based on their acronyms alone, as they both stem from trauma and can cause distressing symptoms such as flashbacks, nightmares, and insomnia. On the other hand, living with Complex PTSD is markedly different because it completely changes a person’s perspective.
While PTSD can develop as a result of a single traumatic event that occurs over a short period of time, C-PTSD can only develop as a result of severe, repetitive trauma over a long period. Complex PTSD differs from regular PTSD in a few ways. Since the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), a PTSD diagnosis has been recognized, but C-PTSD has yet to be recognized as a distinct disorder. Despite this, many mental health professionals are beginning to differentiate between the two.
Complex PTSD Symptoms
A person who has complex PTSD may experience symptoms in addition to those typical of PTSD. Among the most common PTSD and complex PTSD symptoms are:
- An experience of dizziness or nausea when recalling the trauma.
- Avoiding circumstances that trigger a person’s traumatic memory
- Being hyperarousal which means being on high alert all of the time.
- A lack of faith in oneself or others.
- A negative self-perception
- Emotional uncontrollability contributes to out-of-control feelings, such as exploding anger or persistent sadness.
- Relationship difficulties: avoiding connecting with others due to apprehension or a lack of understanding of how to interact with others.
- Preoccupied with the abuser’s relationship with oneself. It can also involve a desire for vengeance or an overt surrender of control to the abuser.
What Happens If You Leave Complex PTSD Untreated?
If left untreated, complex PTSD can become life-threatening. It raises the risk of developing anxiety, depression, addictive behavior, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts. Chronic pain, fatigue, and changes in eating and sleeping patterns are all possible physical health problems.
People with complex PTSD, unlike those with PTSD, are often able to mask their pain for some time. However, as life pressures mount, the accumulating pains that have been buried beneath the surface can suddenly erupt. This is why it’s so vital to have a PTSD treatment plan that focuses on healing.
Does Complex PTSD Ever Go Away?
Despite its inherent barriers to recovery, complex post-traumatic stress disorder is treatable. Someone can approach their all-too-familiar barriers and triggers and begin to reshape their experiences with the help of a knowledgeable and compassionate guide. Time, patience, trust, empowerment, and long-term support are crucial components in bridging the gap between traumatic stress and healing.
In the context of well-rounded support and guidance, someone can work to disempower the trauma that has wrecked them and practice positive coping skills. In a welcoming and secure environment, treatment centers for complex PTSD provide immersive opportunities for therapy and positive life skills.
According to a trusted source, nearly 7% of people in the United States will have traditional PTSD at some point in their lives. Changes in the brain’s emotional, memory, and reasoning areas could cause symptoms. The amygdala, hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex are among the brain areas that may be affected.
C-PTSD is a severe mental health condition that takes time to heal and is a lifelong condition for many people. The combination of therapy and medication provided by our Boston psychiatrist team, on the other hand, can substantially improve your quality of life and help you manage your symptoms.