Complex PTSD: Causes and Treatment

Traumatic single events can leave people feeling the effects for a long time, but long periods of abuse or trauma can have an even more disastrous effect. While similar, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and complex post traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) are now considered unique conditions, and it's important to differentiate between the two.  


At 2nd Chance Treatment Center, with locations in Phoenix, Glendale, and Gilbert, Arizona, our trained doctors and care staff fully understand the effects of different types of trauma. In this blog, they discuss the differences between PTSD and C-PTSD and how you can get help if you suffer from either.


Complex post-traumatic stress disorder is a form of PTSD that results from repeated trauma over time, often beginning in childhood or existing throughout the lifespan of a relationship. 

Many people with PTSD experience a singular event that leaves them traumatized, but long periods of trauma can have different effects on the brain and behavior. People with C-PTSD can experience symptoms associated with typical PTSD, such as:



However, C-PTSD can also manifest with many additional symptoms, including:



Being abused repeatedly can also cause you to seek out abuse from others, since that treatment is familiar to you. You could also be preoccupied with revenge or feel compelled to give your abuser power over your life.


However, this isn’t true of all C-PTSD sufferers. You could behave in the opposite way, avoiding relationships entirely out of fear and distrust. Every case is unique and complex, just like the condition itself.

Kinds of trauma that can lead to C-PTSD

While many traumatic events, such as car accidents and assaults, have a clear beginning and ending, abusive situations can be ongoing for years or decades. This can cause victims to adapt their behaviors and personality in unhealthy ways just to survive.


C-PTSD is most common in those who have experienced long-term abuse, such as:  


Treating C-PTSD 

The most important part of getting treated for C-PTSD is finding a doctor who understands the disorder. C-PTSD and PTSD have only been established as separate conditions recently, and some doctors might mistake your symptoms for that of PTSD, rather than its complex variant.


The treatment for C-PTSD is similar to PTSD, but it requires treatment from a specialist who understands the effects of long-term trauma and can target your specific experiences and identify your triggers. 


Your treatment plan may involve any of the following:


Many people with C-PTSD struggle to stop “surviving” and begin “living.” Getting help can give you the skills and support you need to make the switch. If you suspect you’re suffering from C-PTSD, book an appointment online or over the phone with 2nd Chance Treatment Center today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

How Does PTSD Affect Sleep?

Symptoms of PTSD can hinder your ability to fall and stay asleep. Read on to learn the link between PTSD and sleep and what treatments may help you get a good night’s rest.

Healing from Opioid Addiction: Reasons to Hope

While it can feel helpless struggling with an opioid addiction, there are reasons to hope. With the right treatment and support, you can recover from your addiction and go on to live the life you envisioned for yourself.

How to Support a Loved One with Anxiety

Watching a loved one struggle with anxiety can be difficult, but there are several ways you can offer support. Read on to learn how you can help when your family member or friend has anxiety.

Can You Be Addicted to Marijuana?

Marijuana is now legal in many states and may be used for medicinal purposes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get addicted to the drug. If you’re wondering if you’re addicted to marijuana, here’s what to look for.

5 Ways to Support Your Loved One's Recovery

Is your loved one entering drug rehab or recovering from alcoholism? Knowing what to do and say can be a challenge. Being there for them is important, but you may also need some support. Learn what you can do.