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What are the Differences Between PTSD and C-PTSD


PTSD and C-PTSD, what are the differences

Post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD and Complex-PTSD are complicated and life altering conditions


They need our attention to help alleviate their symptoms and ideally heal. It is found in people that have suffered a significant traumatic event or series of events. These can range from childhood bullying, rape, child abuse, war, law enforcement, or any other terrifying or violent event. Everyone is unique in their ability to process and deal with trauma.


PTSD is a serious disorder that increases the likelihood of suicide or intentional self-harm. PTSD is quite common, but its severity can vary dramatically.


Complex PTSD (C-PTSD)– This type of trauma happens when someone experiences multiple and varied traumatic events that are invasive and personal.


What are the other differences between PTSD and C-PTSD?


Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) share similarities but also have distinct differences.

  1. Trauma Complexity:

  • PTSD: Typically arises from a single traumatic event or a series of traumatic incidents.

  • C-PTSD: Arises from prolonged, repeated trauma, often involving interpersonal relationships, such as childhood abuse, neglect, or captivity.

  1. Symptom Duration:

  • PTSD: Symptoms may persist for months or years, but they often decrease over time.

  • C-PTSD: Symptoms are enduring and may persist for years, even a lifetime, if left untreated.

  1. Symptomatology:

  • PTSD: Primarily characterized by symptoms such as flashbacks, nightmares, hyperarousal, avoidance behaviors, and emotional numbness.

  • C-PTSD: Includes symptoms of PTSD along with additional symptoms such as emotional dysregulation, distorted self-perception, interpersonal difficulties, feelings of shame or guilt, and a sense of emptiness or meaninglessness.

  1. Core Trauma:

  • PTSD: Typically results from a discrete traumatic event like combat, natural disasters, accidents, or assault.

  • C-PTSD: Arises from prolonged, recurring trauma, often in the context of interpersonal relationships, such as childhood abuse, domestic violence, or captivity.

  1. Impact on Identity:

  • PTSD: May cause disruptions in one's sense of safety and trust, but the core sense of self may remain relatively intact.

  • C-PTSD: Often leads to significant disruptions in one's sense of self, identity, and relationships, resulting in pervasive feelings of worthlessness, shame, or a distorted self-image.

  1. Treatment Approach:

  • PTSD: Typically treated with evidence-based therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and medication.

  • C-PTSD: Treatment may involve a combination of therapies addressing both PTSD symptoms and broader issues related to emotional regulation, interpersonal functioning, and self-concept, such as dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), schema therapy, or prolonged exposure therapy.


While both PTSD and C-PTSD involve the experience of trauma and share some symptoms, C-PTSD is distinguished by its complex and prolonged nature, its impact on identity and relationships, and the need for a comprehensive treatment approach that addresses both the PTSD symptoms and the broader effects of complex trauma.


Consider Holistic Healing Options


If you are experiencing any of the emotions described, get the help and healing you need. Unfortunately, symptoms don't just disappear. There are things you can do medically and holistically to heal.







Wishing You Wholeness


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