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To many, there’s only one kind of PTSD; there is of course the classic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that we all know, but there’s also Complex PTSD which many people are ignorant of. This post aims to open up Complex PTSD and clarify between the two.

PTSD

So let’s start with classic PTSD; the one we all know. PTSD is normally diagnosed after someone has experienced a traumatic event, such as a car accident or a violent assault to creates feelings of shock, fear, and helplessness. PTSD can have long-term effects, including anxiety, sleep disorders, and flashbacks. These feelings can worsen over time if not treated, but with the right care, PTSD can improve dramatically.

Symptoms

There are four main types of symptoms associated with PTSD – Intrusion, Avoidance, Arousal/Reactivity, and Mood/Thinking. There may also be physical symptoms too. Here are some examples:

Intrusion:

  • nightmares
  • flashbacks
  • fearfulness

Avoidance:

  • refusing to discuss the traumatic event
  • avoiding situations or reminders of the traumatic event

Arousal and reactivity:

  • sleep issues
  • irritability
  • hypersensitivity
  • anxiety

Mood and thinking:

  • short term memory loss, especially around the event
  • guilt and blame
  • feeling detached from close ones
  • emotionally fatigued, inability to concentrate
  • loss of life interest
  • possible depression and phobias

Other physical symptoms

  • sweating, shaking, headache, dizziness, digestive issues, aches and pains
  • a weakened immune system

If left untreated, in the long-term, these symptoms can lead to work problems a breakdown in relationships, and abuse of alcohol, drugs or medication.

Complex PTSD

Now on to the symptoms of Complex-PTSD, which is closely related to PTSD as it has many of the main symptoms, but there are some big differences. PTSD typically arises from a single traumatic event, such as a car accident, whereas Complex-PTSD comes from continued exposure over a period of time that can go on for months or years, such as repeated sexual assaults, or successive tours-of-duty in a war zone.

Symptoms

Typical symptoms of complex PTSD include:

  • flashbacks and nightmares that include the trauma
  • avoiding situations or reminders of the traumatic event
  • dizziness or nausea
  • hyper-arousal
  • believing that the world is dangerous
  • loss of trust in everyone
  • sleep and concentration issues
  • noise sensitivity

Some additional symptoms include:

  • complex PTSD can cause a person to view themselves negatively and feel helpless or guilty.
  • sufferers may hold a negative view of the world and the people in it or lose faith in previously held beliefs.
  • it can cause people to lose control over their emotions, with intense anger, sadness, or suicidal thoughts.
  • relationships tend to suffer as the sufferer has difficulties trusting, interacting, and has a negative self-view.
  • dissociation, meaning feelings of emotional or physical detached.
  • complex PTSD sufferers can fixate on the abuser or events.

People with either version of PTSD may show behaviors to try and manage their symptoms, such as:

  • alcohol, medication, or drug abuse
  • becoming “people-pleasers” to avoid bad situations
  • overreacting to minor criticism
  • self-harm

Typical treatments for both PTSD and Complex PTSD involve a combination of therapy, counseling, and medication. All of these can help to varying degrees, but Journey Into Wellness has had a huge impact of clients’ PTSD symptoms with our HeartBeat Trauma Release Method, and our Miracle Healing Hideaway has residential programs dedicated to these cases.

Contact us to find out more about our treatment methods and programs, and take a look at the testimonial pages on our Journey Into Wellness and Miracle Healing Hideaway websites.