PTSD and CPTSD

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PTSD Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome

Most people who experience a traumatic event will have reactions that may include shock, anger, nervousness, fear, and even guilt. These reactions are common, and for most people, they go away over time. For a person with PTSD, however, these feelings continue and even increase, becoming so strong that they keep the person from living a normal life. People with PTSD have symptoms for longer than one month and cannot function as well as before the event occurred


Symptoms of PTSD often are grouped into four main categories, including:

  • Reliving: People with PTSD repeatedly relive the ordeal through thoughts and memories of the trauma. These may include flashbacks, hallucinations, and nightmares. They also may feel great distress when certain things remind them of the trauma, such as the anniversary date of the event.
  • Avoiding: The person may avoid people, places, thoughts, or situations that may remind him or her of the trauma. This can lead to feelings of detachment and isolation from family and friends, as well as a loss of interest in activities that the person once enjoyed.
  • Increased arousal: These include excessive emotions; problems relating to others, including feeling or showing affection; difficulty falling or staying asleep; irritability; outbursts of anger; difficulty concentrating; and being "jumpy" or easily startled. The person may also suffer physical symptoms, such as increased blood pressure and heart, rapid breathing, muscle tension, nausea, and diarrhoea.
  • Negative Cognitions and Mood: This refers to thoughts and feelings related to blame, estrangement, and memories of the traumatic event.

Young children with PTSD may suffer from delayed development in areas such as toilet training, motor skills, and language.


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CPTSD Complex Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome

Symptoms of CPTSD

People with CPTSD typically have the above PTSD symptoms along with additional symptoms, including:

Lack of emotional regulation

This refers to having uncrontrollable feelings, such as explosive anger or ongoing sadness.

Changes in consciousness

This can include forgetting the traumatic event or feeling detached from your emotions or body, which is also called dissociation.

Negative self-perception

You may feel guilt or shame, to the point that you feel completely different from other people.

Difficulty with relationships

You might find yourself avoiding relationships with other people out of mistrust or a feeling of not knowing how to interact with others. On the other hand, some might seek relationships with people who harm them because it feels familiar.

Distorted perception of abuser

This includes becoming preoccupied with the relationship between you and your abuser. It can also include preoccupation with revenge or giving your abuser complete power over your life.

Loss of systems of meanings

Systems of meaning refer to your religion or beliefs about the world. For example, you might lose faith in some long-held beliefs you had or develop a strong sense of despair or hopelessness about the world.

It’s important to note that symptoms of both PTSD and CPTSD can vary widely between people, and even within one person over time. For example, you might find yourself avoiding social situations for a period of time, only to start seeking potentially dangerous situations months or years later.

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