C-PTSD: Causes, Symptoms, and Finding Relief

C-PTSD, also known as Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, can develop after exposure to a series of traumatic experiences. These events generally occur for a prolonged period of time, on the scale of months to years. It is closely related to PTSD, which can develop after exposure to a singular traumatic event. People suffering from PTSD and C-PTSD share a core set of symptoms, while those with C-PTSD will experience additional effects.

Some people may be more susceptible to developing C-PTSD if there is a family history of depression or anxiety, especially when there is a lack of a support network. Trauma is often imposed by a loved one or caregiver during formative years, meaning having a support system while experiencing abuse is uncommon.

Other causes of Complex PTSD include (but are not limited to):

Complex PTSD is more likely to develop when such events are experienced from a young age, and occur over a prolonged period of time where escape is unlikely or impossible. Symptoms of this disorder overlap with those of PTSD victims. They can also include:

While many medical practitioners still have difficulty in diagnosing C-PTSD in comparison to PTSD or BPD (bipolar disorder), it is gaining recognition in the world of psychotherapy. Many doctors may begin with a diagnosis of PTSD, and can officially determine C-PTSD over time. It can be helpful for people experiencing C-PTSD to join a support group, either online or in person, if there is a lack of regular support. Sharing experiences is often the first step on the path to healing.

Treatment for C-PTSD includes psychotherapy to identify and understand destructive thinking patterns, EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) to reduce sensitivity towards traumatic memories, in combination with a medication program. Antidepressants in tandem with therapy may be beneficial.

Those experiencing treatment resistance may require alternative methods to find relief or achieve total remission. Off-label ketamine infusion therapy is garnering attention as an effective treatment through its ability to offer immediate and lasting relief. Managing symptoms can be overwhelming, however with the right support network and treatment program, the journey towards recovery can begin. Reach out to a trusted healthcare provider today to determine a plan for managing the distress caused by C-PTSD.