After a few years of unprecedented stress, many of us are struggling to cope. Whether you’ve had a PTSD or C-PTSD diagnosis in the past and it’s being exacerbated by the pandemic, or you’re just starting to take a closer look at your mental health symptoms, we can all benefit from more support and greater trauma awareness.
PTSD and Complex PTSD are both mental health disorders that can develop after a traumatic event. While they may sound similar, there are important distinctions in how these conditions develop and how they are treated.
First, let’s start with the basics: what is the difference between PTSD and Complex PTSD?
PTSD happens after witnessing or experiencing a single traumatic event such as a car accident, a natural disaster, or assault. It can also result from combat exposure.
Symptoms of PTSD include:
- Re-experiencing the trauma through flashbacks, nightmares, or intrusive thoughts
- Avoidance and detachment from people, places, or other triggers related to the trauma
- Changes in mood and thinking, including numbness and blunted emotions
- Hyperarousal, including feeling edgy, easily frightened, or difficulty concentrating or sleeping
Complex PTSD results from the experience of prolonged, interpersonal traumatic events, often occurring early in life. It can result from experiencing abuse or neglect, ongoing domestic violence, repeated witnessing of violence or abuse, torture, or kidnapping.
Symptoms of Complex PTSD include:
- Difficulty controlling emotions
- Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
- Problems forming and maintaining healthy relationships
- Deep feelings of shame and guilt or failure
- Intense feelings of distrust
- Dissociative symptoms
- Suicidal ideation
There is no single “best” treatment for PTSD treatment. Rather, a combination of interventions can help you to address your trauma and work toward healing and recovery. When you’re ready for healing, hope and help are available.