Are PTSD and C-PTSD The Same Thing?

Are PTSD and C-PTSD The Same Thing?

Are PTSD and C-PTSD The Same Thing?

Before you seek treatment it might be helpful to understand your condition a bit better. While both names sound almost exactly the same, PTSD and C-PTSD are slightly different.

What is The Difference Between PTSD and C-PTSD?

Both conditions share similarities; PTSD is defined as a posttraumatic-stress disorder that occurs after a traumatic experience. But while PTSD develops after a single event, C-PTSD (complex PTSD) occurs after an ongoing trauma.

Events associated with PTSD typically involve sexual or physical assault, a serious accident, natural disaster, traumatic childbirth and miscarriage and witnessing an act of violence.

C-PTSD is associated with repeated experiences, such as bullying, domestic violence and neglect/abuse in childhood. In addition, you’re more likely to develop C-PTSD if trauma occurred at a young age and if it was inflicted by a person known to you such as a family member or a teacher.

Many symptoms of PTSD and C-PTSD overlap:

  • Relieving the trauma through flashbacks, nightmares or unwanted memories
  • Hypervigilance – feeling on edge and heightened sensitivity to one’s surroundings
  • Avoidance behaviours – avoiding situations, people or places associated with trauma
  • Sleep problems
  • Mood changes – such as feeling depressed, isolated, empty and experiencing a sense of guilt or shame
  • Concentration problems

However, C-PTSD is also linked to:

  • Relationship difficulties – people who have complex PTSD might feel insecure, struggle to trust others and experience sensitivity to rejection, which makes it difficult to maintain close relationships
  • Difficulties managing emotions
  • Negative self-view – people who have C-PTSD might experience a sense of worthlessness  
  • More frequent suicidal thoughts
  • Detachment from the trauma – a person might experience derealisation when under stress which is a form of disconnecting from the world around them or depersonalisation (disconnecting from themselves

Differences in Treatment

PTSD is typically treated with EMDR therapy (eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing) that directly alters the way upsetting memories are stored in the brain or with talking therapies that require the patient to recall their trauma in a controlled environment. For example, TF-CBT (trauma-focussed cognitive behavioural therapy) addresses negative thoughts one might have developed about themselves or the world as a result of trauma and teaches a patient how to better cope with triggers. Treatment for C-PTSD is similar but therapy might also focus on teaching a client how to manage their emotions and have healthier relationships with other people, which might be achieved by combining a few different forms of treatment, for example CBT and DBT (dialectical behaviour therapy) aimed at people who experience intense emotions.

If you don’t know what kind of treatment would be best suited to your needs, contact My Family Psychologist to see how we can help

If you are feeling pressured or need someone to speak to, contact My Family Psychologist for a confidential chat about how we may be able to help.

You can contact the My Family Psychologist Offices between 8 am and 8 pm to book an appointment.

Get in touch to see how we can help.

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