Complex posttraumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) is a possible diagnosis for individuals who suffer from long-term episodes of trauma. Identified by Judith Herman, a psychiatrist and Harvard University professor, the term complex PTSD seeks to outline a group of symptoms common to individuals who are victims of incest, domestic violence, and other repetitive traumatic events.
Currently a PTSD diagnosis covers symptoms of short-term and long-term trauma sufferers. Individuals who were physically or emotionally trapped for long periods of time tend to suffer more extreme symptoms than some short-term victims. Individuals who are long-term sufferers include those who lived through the following situations according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs:
In addition to the symptoms of PTSD, a person who lived through a traumatic period lasting months or even years experiences other problems such as the following:
In addition to trouble with emotional regulation and perceptions of others and self, other symptoms of complex PTSD may include a desire to avoid thinking about things associated with the trauma because the thoughts bring too much pain. Survivors also may abuse drugs or alcohol or mutilate themselves in some way. Therapists and others who are working with survivors should work hard to accurately diagnose the symptoms and determine if it is complex PTSD or PTSD and a co-occurring personality disorder.
There are evidence-based therapies for post-traumatic stress disorder that greatly improve a person’s quality of life. If you or a loved one needs help finding appropriate therapy or treatment, please call our toll-free helpline. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions about treatment and guide you toward the right options. Call us today.