Is There A Difference Between Complex Ptsd And Ptsd
There is increasing research and support for recognizing PTSD and CPTSD as separate disorders. Despite both stemming from traumatic experiences, there are distinct differences between PTSD and Complex PTSD and how they affect people.
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. Its primary symptoms include¹:
- 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 life². It can result from experiencing abuse or neglect, ongoing domestic violence, repeated witnessing of violence or abuse, torture, or kidnapping.
Symptoms of Complex PTSD have a lot of overlap with PTSD but can also include³:
- 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
- Suicidal ideation
How To Diagnose Bpd And Cptsd Differently
Based on the above-mentioned disparities among the two disorders, patients can be easily diagnosed with the reaction towards stimulus being the major identifier. Consider a patient is exposed to some kind of trauma in the past and demonstrates emotional instability and depressive sentiments, but did not exhibit self-harm and feeling of rejection then CPTSD can be declared. However, if such emotions are not attributed to external triggers and arouse due to the internal feeling of trauma, then the diagnosis of BPD is likely.
Understanding The Difference Between Ptsd And Cptsd
As Veterans Day quickly approaches, we all take the time to think about the brave men and women that risk their lives for the freedoms that we enjoy on a daily basis. Unfortunately, for many of these brave soldiers, they have experienced extremely traumatic events that can alter the way that they perceive the world. The same can be said for our brave first responders that often have to keep a calm and cool head when faced with hugely traumatic circumstances.
As a society, we used to believe that these men and women will have much better lives once they came home from all of the stress and anxiety that their jobs provide. However, we are now discovering that PTSD and CPTSD are real concerns for anyone suffering from a traumatic event. PTSD and CPTSD are mental health conditions that stem from past experiences. While they are only one letter apart, there is a definite difference between PTSD and CPTSD. PTSD and CPTSD affect people in very distinct ways. Each disorder inflicts different emotions and feelings in a person. Lets explore what each disorder is and how they differ from one another.
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Key Difference Ptsd Vs Complex Ptsd
Although PTSD and Complex PTSD are related to one another, there exists a clear difference between these two mental illnesses. PTSD stands for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Complex PTSD stands for Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. When speaking of PTSD, there are mainly five categories of the illness. They are the normal stress response, acute stress disorder, uncomplicated PTSD, comorbid PTSD, and the complex PTSD. Hence, Complex PTSD can be considered as a subcategory of PTSD. The key difference between PTSD and Complex PTSD is that, in Complex PTSD, the individual is exposed to a sequence of traumatic events, not a single traumatic event. Through this article let us examine the differences between the two illnesses in more detail.
Are You Living With Ptsd
Lets look at post-traumatic stress disorder first. The term is frequently discussed in media and pop culture, where some misuse it as an explanation for violent, inexplicable, or random behavior after a traumatic event. Unfortunately, this often leads to a stigma that keeps sufferers from seeking help.
More accurately described, PTSD occurs after experiencing and/or witnessing life-changing events such as military combat, a natural disaster, or a violent attack.
If you are living with PTSD after such an event, you are likely trying to navigate intense thoughts and feelings. Common experiences include visual and auditory flashbacks, sleep disruption, and nightmares. You may feel hyperalert and detached from others, even those closest to you. As a result, your career and relationships may suffer as a tendency to isolate and avoid triggers maybe have become a coping mechanism.
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What Is Emdr Therapy
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy is a psychotherapy that uses rhythmic left-right stimulation to help people recover from trauma or other distressing life experiences.
Bilateral stimulation, along with focusing on the traumatic memory, is thought to reduce the memory’s emotional impact. Then, you can begin to heal from the fear and pain associated with the trauma you experienced. Over time, exposure to these memories reduces or eliminates your negative response to them.
EMDR was initially developed in the late 1980s by psychologist Francine Shapiro to treat post-traumatic stress disorder . As a therapeutic approach, EMDR is based on several theories of psychotherapy, including concepts of cognitive behavioral therapy .
Unlike other forms of therapy that focus on changing the emotions, thoughts, and behaviors resulting from distressing experiences, EMDR therapy focuses directly on the specific memory to change the way it is stored in the brain.
What Is The Difference Between Cptsd And Ptsd
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Here is a brief overview from wikipedia:
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental and behavioral disorder that can develop because of exposure to a traumatic event, such as sexual assault, warfare, traffic collisions, child abuse, domestic violence or other threats on a persons life. Symptoms may include disturbing thoughts, feelings, or dreams related to the events, mental or physical distress to trauma-related cues, attempts to avoid trauma-related cues, alterations in the way a person thinks and feels, and an increase in the fight-or-flight response. These symptoms last for more than a month after the event. Young children are less likely to show distress, but instead may express their memories through play. A person with PTSD is at a higher risk of suicide and intentional self-harm.
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What Are The Differences Between Pts And Ptsd
Its easy to confuse post-traumatic stress and post-traumatic stress disorder . In addition to sharing similar names, theres considerable overlap in symptoms between the two conditions. Both PTS and PTSD are associated with feeling fearful and/or nervous, avoiding the activity or place associated with the traumatic event, and nightmares. However, there are significant differences in symptom intensity, duration, and treatment.
Signs Of Childhood Trauma In Adults
If you experienced trauma as a child, it’s likely that you are or have experienced some amount of post-traumatic stress disorder later in life.
This article explains what trauma is, what childhood abuse may look like, and how childhood trauma impacts adulthood.
If you are a victim of child abuse or know someone who might be, call or text the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-422-4453 to speak with a professional crisis counselor.
For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.
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How Are Ptsd And Cptsd Different
Relationships are likely triggering for a person with CPTSD. A survivor of single-incident trauma may be triggered by lots of things sounds, smells, etc. but not usually by relationships or attachments. That is what makes CPTSD particularly challenging to treat, as healthy relationships are fundamental to recovering from trauma. If a close relationship is what has harmed you in the first place, it may take longer to develop the trust needed to heal and recover from CPTSD.
Unlike survivors of single-incident trauma, complex trauma survivors likely:
Main Difference Ptsd Vs Complex Ptsd
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and Complex Post-traumatic Stress Disorder are two conditions dealing with the human mind. The confusion between these two terms is caused by their similar features, demarcated by a very thin borderline. The main difference between PTSD and Complex PTSD is that PTSD usually develops following a single episode of trauma whereas Complex PTSD involves several traumatizing events on a long-term basis. However, it is important to know the unique features owned by those, in order to make necessary interventions in individual cases.
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Difference Between Cptsd Vs Ptsd And How To Treat Each Condition
CPTSD and PTSD and similar but different conditions may require different treatment.
- The difference between CPTSD and PTSD is that PTSD usually occurs after a single traumatic event, while PTSD is associated with recurrent trauma.
- Risks that can lead to PTSD include serious injury, sexual abuse, or a traumatic birth experience, such as the loss of a baby.
- Incidents that could lead to CPSTD include childhood abuse, ongoing domestic violence, or kidnapping.
Post-traumatic stress disorder and complex PTSD are both mental health disorders that can occur after a traumatic event, such as seeing violence or sexual abuse.
There are several important differences, however, in how the conditions develop and the best behaviors. Heres what you need to know about the differences between PTSD and PTSD.
The Difference Between Cptsd And Ptsd And How To Treat Each Condition
- The difference between CPTSD and PTSD is that PTSD usually occurs after a single traumatic event, while CPTSD is associated with repeated trauma.
- Events that can lead to PTSD include a serious accident, a sexual assault, or a traumatic childbirth experience, such as losing a baby.
- Events that may lead to CPSTD include experiencing abuse as a child, ongoing domestic violence, or kidnapping.
- This article was medically reviewed by Alisa Ruby Bash, PsyD, LMFT, of Cure by Benya Medical Spa in Malibu, California.
- Visit Insider’s Health Reference library for more advice.
Post-traumatic stress disorder and complex PTSD are both mental health disorders that can develop after you go through a traumatic event, like witnessing violence or being sexually assaulted.
There are several important distinctions, however, in how the conditions develop and the best ways to treat them. Here is what you need to know about the difference between CPTSD and PTSD.
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How To Get Started
If you think you are someone you love would benefit from EMDR, consider the following steps:
- Determine your personal preferences. When choosing a therapist, it’s important to find someone you think youll work well with. Are you more comfortable working with a therapist of a specific age or gender identity? Do you prefer in-person or online therapy?
- Seek a trained professional. EMDR is a specialized therapy that requires specific training. To find a qualified EMDR therapist, consider searching the EMDR International Association’s website.
- Ask about their specialty. Not all EMDR therapists specialize in every mental health condition. Many specialize in working with people with PTSD, for example. Before committing to a therapist, ask them what experience they have using EMDR with your particular problem.
- Know what to expect. Your initial session may be similar to a doctor’s appointment. This means you may need to fill out a variety of medical forms about your personal information, health insurance, medical history, and family medical history.
Is Complex Ptsd A Separate Condition
The International Classification of Diseases identifies complex PTSD as a separate condition, though the DSM-5 currently does not.
Complex PTSD is a relatively recent concept. Because of its variable nature, healthcare professionals may instead diagnose another condition. They may be especially likely to diagnose borderline personality disorder .
Some researchers have areas of substantial overlap between complex PTSD and BPD.
However, the conditions may also have differences. Authors of a study from 2014 reported that, for example, people with complex PTSD had consistently negative self-conceptions, while people with BPD had self-conceptions that were unstable and changing.
People with complex PTSD may experience difficulties with relationships. They tend to avoid others and may feel a lack of connection.
BPD can cause a person to swing between idealizing and undervaluing others, resulting in relationship difficulties.
It is possible for a person with BPD to also experience complex PTSD, and the combination may result in additional symptoms.
A person with complex PTSD may experience symptoms in addition to those that characterize PTSD.
Common symptoms of PTSD and complex PTSD include:
People with PTSD or complex PTSD may also experience:
Symptoms of complex PTSD can vary, and they may change over time.
People with the condition may also experience symptoms that are not listed above.
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The Difference Between Cptsd And Ptsd
For example, events that may lead to PTSD include:
- A serious accident
- An instance of physical or sexual assault
- A traumatic childbirth experience, such as losing a baby
- A serious health problem that may have required being in intensive care
On the other hand, events that may cause CPTSD include:
- Experiencing abuse or neglect as a child
- Ongoing domestic violence
Overall, you are more likely to experience CPTSD instead of PTSD if the trauma:
- Occurred at an early age
- Was inflicted by someone close to you
- Was inflicted by someone who you continue to have to see on a regular basis
What Is The Difference Between Ptsd And C
Post-traumatic stress disorder is the acronym used to describe PTSD a mental health condition triggered by traumatic events.
Such events might occur in isolation or be chronic .
Complex PTSD stands for complex post-traumatic stress disorder and refers to a type of developmental trauma that occurs over long periods, often without being able to escape the situation .
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Conditions Similar To Complex Ptsd
A Harvard researcher coined the term “complex PTSD” in 1988. Mental health professionals today may use other terms.
Enduring Personality Changes After Catastrophic Events . To have a diagnosis of EPCACE, the person needs to have a personality change that lasts for 2 years after trauma. EPCACE is no longer recognized by the World Health Organization, which uses complex PTSD instead. Some mental health professionals prefer EPCACE and still use it.
Disorders of Extreme Stress Not Otherwise Specified . This term sometimes is used to mean the same thing as complex PTSD, especially in the United States. The risk factors and symptoms are very similar.
Borderline Personality Disorder . The symptoms of complex PTSD and BPD are similar, but BPD does not require a history of trauma. Some researchers believe that genetics or brain function could be at the root of BPD. Some authorities consider complex PTSD a subtype of BPD, but others believe they’re two separate conditions.
Complex Ptsd Vs Borderline Personality Disorder
Borderline Personality Disorder has very similar symptoms to C-PTSD. BPD is a disorder that affects people differently. The main symptoms include:
- Emotional instability
- Erratic behavior patterns
- Intense feelings of emptiness5
Complex PTSD is a disorder rooted in shame. Normally, it is characterized by flashbacks to traumatic events and intense feelings of fear, sadness, shame, and worthlessness.5
BPD and C-PTSD are not fully understood. BPD is connected to a history of trauma or neglect as well, though there could also be a genetic link. However, Complex PTSD is developed through long-term exposure to trauma. These two disorders can be confused with one another because of their overlapping symptoms and causes, but they do differ slightly.
For example, individuals with either disorder tend to struggle with interpersonal skills. However, this symptom occurs with BPD because there is a fear of abandonment. Individuals with C-PTSD struggle with relationships because they feel they are unlovable or broken. Overall, BPD is primarily made up of fear as the root cause, while C-PTSD may have shame as the root cause.5
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Yes You Can Reclaim Your Life After Trauma
Trauma survivors dont always know there is another way to experience life than to battle fear and symptoms every day. They may need to learn that in adulthood they can heal, nurture themselves with compassion, or even re-parent their inner child who is crying out in pain. They may also learn that there are consistent, caring, safe people in the world. Trauma survivors may not realize that they can experience life any differently, but they can!
Differences Between Ptsd And C
PTSD and CPTSD have a lot of similarities. Both are a result of a deeply traumatic experience and result in flashbacks, nightmares, and insomnia.3 Both can lead to someone feeling afraid and unsafe even after the danger is gone.
The biggest difference is PTSD is caused by a single traumatic event, while C-PTSD is caused by long-lasting trauma that repeats itself for months, or even years. Because C-PTSD is caused by long-term trauma, a lot of experts believe that PTSD criteria do not accurately describe C-PTSDs long-lasting consequences.3
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Symptoms Of Complex Ptsd
- Difficulty controlling emotions. It’s common for someone suffering from C-PTSD to lose control over their emotions, which can manifest as explosive anger, persistent sadness, depression, and suicidal thoughts.
- Negative self-view. C-PTSD can cause a person to view themselves in a negative light. They may feel helpless, guilty, or ashamed. They often have a sense of being completely different from other people.
- Difficulty with relationships. Relationships may suffer due to difficulties trusting others and a negative self-view. A person with C-PTSD may avoid relationships or develop unhealthy relationships because that is what they knew in the past.
- Detachment from the trauma. A person may disconnect from themselves and the world around them . Some people might even forget their trauma.
- Loss of a system of meanings. This can include losing one’s core beliefs, values, religious faith, or hope in the world and other people.
All of these symptoms can be life-altering and cause significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational, or other important areas of life.