I'm sure most of you have heard of PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Often described as something veterans develop from the war. You've likely never heard of what's known as C-PTSD or Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. That's because C-PTSD wasn't acknowledged as a legitimate disorder until recently. Despite being documented in the late 1980s. Even though C-PTSD hasn't been around the length of time, PTSD has. It's crucial to understand the cause and effect of both disorders. Below I've put together detailed descriptions of both mental illnesses.
What is PTSD?
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is caused when someone experiences a traumatic event first-hand. Or a solitary act of violence from another human.
What Is C-PTSD?
Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder results from being subjected to repeated and ongoing trauma spanning months or years.
C-PTSD Causes and Symptoms
Think about it this way PTSD and C-PTSD are like twins. With C-PTSD being meaner and more aggressive of the two. Another difference is PTSD can be triggered by anyone regardless of age. While C-PTSD is believed to result from childhood trauma such as abuse.
Symptoms separate from PTSD.
Although C-PTSD and PTSD share some of the same symptoms. C-PTSD has additional symptoms that set the two apart. These symptoms are:
1. Difficulty controlling emotions
2. Negative self-view
3. Difficulty maintaining relationships or having abusive partners.
4. Detachment from the trauma or completely repressing memories of traumatic events.
5. Loss of a system of meaning
There are different treatment plans in place for patients with C-PTSD. Treatment is divided up into 3 stages of treatment which are:
1. Establishing safety; understanding and managing responses: The first stage of trauma therapy involves understanding and regulating emotions, mindfulness, and grounding techniques. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is often used in this stage.
2. Uncovering, remembering, and mourning; modifying and processing memories of traumatic events: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be used at this stage.
3. Reconnecting and addressing life issues: The third stage includes improving relationships, work, family, spiritual and recreational aspects of life. Exposure Therapy can also be used in treatment.
Developing coping techniques are also a part of treatment. Below I've added a few:
1. Finding a solid support group
2. Set small goals
3. Keep a journal
4. Have a specific plan made to regulate yourself
Know The Warning Signs
While most of this article is directed towards people affected by the disorder. I want to ensure loved ones know what the signs of PTSD are. Below I've added noticeable side effects for family and friends. Starting with the most common. I hope it helps:
1. Reliving traumatic events: This comes in the form of flashbacks or nightmares.
2. Avoiding situations: You may notice this person going to great lengths to avoid certain things that might remind them of the events. This can also mean keeping themselves unnecessarily busy to keep from thinking about it.
3. Hyperarousal: On alert, jittery, and easily startled
4. Somatic symptoms: Some people develop physical ailments such as dizziness, nausea, or headaches when thinking about the trauma.
5. Self-destructive, reckless behavior: Doing things that are dangerous or potentially deadly while having complete disregard for their own safety.
6. Significant decrease in activities and hobbies that used to be enjoyable.
I will end with this note. If you or someone you know could be suffering from either disorder. Seeking professional help is the best bet of eventually having a positive and happy life. Having dealt with C-PTSD and still battling it myself. I know how negatively it impacts a person's life. As well as the mental burden of living with it. No one deserves to live like that. So if you are struggling with this disorder, get help to regain your life. Until next time, goodbye!