Information on PTSD & C-PTSD

Complex PTSD

What is Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) occurs in adults, adolescents, and children older than six years. Not everyone who experiences or witnesses traumatic events or abuse develop PTSD. In order to be diagnosed with PTSD, the following symptoms have to last for at least one month, the symptoms create distress or functional impairment, and Symptoms are not due to medication, substance use, or other illness.

Criteria required to be diagnosed with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD):

Criterion A:  Stressors – PTSD occurs when someone is exposed to traumatic events or abuse (at least one):

  • Direct exposure (war, childhood physical and/or sexual abuse, sexual violence, physical assault, being threatened with a weapon, an accident, etc.)
  • Witnessing the trauma
  • Learning that a relative or close friend was exposed to a trauma
  • Indirect exposure to aversive details of the trauma, usually in the course of professional duties (e.g., first responders, medics)

Criterion B: Intrusive Symptoms – the traumatic event is persistently re-experienced (at least one):

  • Unwanted upsetting memories
  • Nightmares
  • Flashbacks/intrusive thoughts
  • Emotional distress after exposure to traumatic reminders (triggers)
  • Physical reactivity after exposure to traumatic reminders (triggers)

Criterion C: avoidance – avoidance of trauma-related stimuli after the trauma (at least one):

  • Trauma-related thoughts or feelings
  • Trauma-related external reminders

Criterion D: negative alterations in cognitions and mood – negative thoughts or feelings that began or worsened after the trauma (at least two):

  • Inability to recall key features of the trauma
  • Overly negative thoughts and assumptions about oneself or the world
  • Exaggerated blame of self or others for causing the trauma
  • Negative affect (negative emotions such as anger, contempt, disgust, fear, anxiety, etc.)
  • Decreased interest in activities
  • Feeling isolated
  • Difficulty experiencing positive affect (positive emotions such as joy, happiness, hope, gratitude, etc.)

Criterion E: alterations in arousal and reactivity – trauma-related arousal and reactivity that began or worsened after the trauma:

  • Irritability or aggression
  • Risky or destructive behavior
  • Hypervigilance
  • Heightened startle reaction
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty sleeping

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) vs. Complex Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD)

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD):

  • Related to a single event
  • Can develop after:
    • an accident
    • natural disaster
    • abuse
  • Symptoms may include:
    • nightmares
    • flashbacks/intrusive thoughts
    • negative thoughts
    • aggression
    • avoiding reminders of the traumatic event

more info (PTSD)

Complex Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD)

  • Related to prolonged or repeated trauma
  • Can develop after:
  • experiencing childhood abuse or neglect over months or years
  • experiencing other types of abuse early in life
  • experiencing domestic abuse over months or years
  • experiencing human trafficking
  • being a prisoner of war
  • living in a region affected by war
  • Symptoms may include:
    • difficulty regulating emotions and impulses
    • trouble sleeping
    • chronic physical health problems
    • dissociation (detaching from the trauma or abuse)
    • self-hate
    • poor memory
    • difficulty trusting people
    • hostility

more info

If you believe you may be suffering from PTSD or C-PTSD, then your could benefit from trauma counseling and EMDR Contact Hope and Healing Counseling Center, LLC in North Augusta, SC to schedule your first appointment.

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