What Is Complex PTSD (C-PTSD)?

Complex posttraumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) is a form of PTSD, but it occurs when someone is continually exposed to trauma, especially entrapment or captivity. While people who experience PTSD survived trauma, like abuse, violence, death of a loved one or a natural disaster, those who are diagnosed with C-PTSD generally have had a much more detailed and long-term bout with trauma. However, with the right help, you can learn to manage your symptoms and live a healthy life.

What Kinds of Trauma Cause C-PTSD?

C-PTSD usually develops in those who have been held against their will either physically or emotionally, and the situation they endured was extremely dangerous. According to the Veterans Association, some of the many causes of C-PTSD can include the following examples:

  • Being held at a prisoner of war or concentration camp
  • Working long-term at a brothel
  • Enduring long-term domestic violence or sexual or physical abuse
  • Exploitation rings

Other situations that can cause C-PTSD can include kidnapping, religious cults and more. If you have endured any of these devastating situations, you may suffer from C-PTSD.

Symptoms of C-PTSD

While all the symptoms of trauma can cause significant problems, especially in adapting to social or personal settings, those with C-PTSD can struggle even more with these issues. Some of the symptoms of C-PTSD include the following problems:

  • Emotional regulation – It can be difficult to manage emotions after prolonged trauma, so patients can experience feelings such as sadness, anger or suicidal thoughts
  • Distorted perceptions – Many people who have survived major trauma still feel under the control of their perpetrator. Additionally, they may still care for their perpetrators or that they obsessively seek revenge.
  • Trouble with interpersonal relationships – People with C-PTSD may have considerable trouble dealing with loved ones, friends or family, because they will have trouble establishing trust and socializing, which often leads to isolation
  • Self-perception – After experiencing severe trauma, survivors may feel guilty for what they endured, even though it is not their fault. They may also feel shame, as they believe their situations label them as damaged.

People with C-PTSD might also experience difficulty learning new impulses, but treatment can help them recover.

Treatment for C-PTSD

There is treatment for Complex PTSD, and it generally involves many techniques that treat PTSD. With Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, art therapy, talk therapy and exposure therapy, those with C-PTSD can work through their trauma at their own pace and with the help of a professional.

Help for C-PTSD

Call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline right now to get the support you need to start treatment. No good will come from ignoring your symptoms or your traumatic experience. Call us today for instant support.