Treatment clinic U-center

Complex PTSD

After experiencing traumatic events, our bodies and brains don’t always know how to respond. Sometimes, this can result in PTSD. But this disorder isn’t one-size-fits-all. It comes in different forms with corresponding impacts on the body. We’ll discuss Complex PTSD here.

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Normal stress response

Normal stress response

Before we dive into Complex PTSD, let’s discuss what a normal stress response looks like. You may experience headaches, muscle tension or pain during a normal stress response. But fatigue, digestive problems and an increased heartrate are well-known symptoms as well. This is a reaction to a stressful event that occurs before PTSD. It is, however, important to note that it doesn’t automatically evolve into PTSD.

You should be able to handle a normal stress response with the support of people you trust and perhaps a few therapy sessions (if necessary). After a few weeks, you should see some definite improvement.

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PTSD

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder is more severe than a normal stress response. It’s evoked by one or more traumatic events and causes long-term noticeable effects on the body. One of the subtypes of PTSD is Complex PTSD, which we will explain here.

Complex PTSD

Causes

Complex PTSD, or CPTSD, differs from other types because it is caused by multiple traumatic events instead of a single event. The most well-known causes are:

  • experiencing repeated (domestic) abuse or violence;
  • experiencing childhood abuse or neglect;
  • witnessing war, abuse or violence repeatedly
  • being forced or manipulated into prostitution.

This type of PTSD can cause you to have trouble keeping healthy relationships and can create behavioural issues. However, it’s also possible that you experience physical symptoms, such as fatigue and chronic pain. Because of its complex nature, this type of PTSD requires intense and often longer treatment than other types of PTSD.

Comorbidity

Some complex PTSD patients can be diagnosed with a substance addiction (drugs or alcohol) or depression, meaning these mental health disorders can co-occur with complex PTSD. In addition, it can also co-occur with borderline personality disorder or dissociative disorder. However, that doesn’t mean that having complex PTSD automatically leads to having another (comorbid) mental health disorder.

U-center is a specialised clinic for patients who suffer from co-occurring mental health disorders. Our experts specialise in comorbidity and have all the knowledge they need to create a positive environment for you to recover.

Aptitude for Complex PTSD

You are more likely to be diagnosed with CPTSD if you have experienced trauma when you were young or if you’ve experienced trauma repeatedly over a long period of time. Furthermore, if you felt like escape was impossible or if you were harmed by someone you trusted, you’re also more likely to be diagnosed with CPTSD.

Symptoms of Complex PTSD

CPTSD is a subtype of PTSD, so of course, the two will share certain symptoms. That’s why you might recognise some symptoms of Complex PTSD, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you have CPTSD. Don’t hesitate to contact a mental health professional if you feel like one or more of these symptoms of CPTSD apply to you:

Symptoms

  • Having difficulty controlling your emotions
  • Feeling shame or guilt
  • Having trouble concentrating
  • Dissociation symptoms
  • Not feeling any connection to other people: feeling different, cutting others off, etc.
  • Having trouble with relationships and sometimes avoiding them completely
  • Feeling worthless and as if no one in the world can relate to your situation
  • Having headaches or stomach aches, feeling dizzy
  • Self-harming, abusing alcohol or drugs.
  • Feeling suicidal often
  • Having difficulty controlling your emotions
  • Feeling shame or guilt
  • Having trouble concentrating
  • Dissociation symptoms
  • Not feeling any connection to other people: feeling different, cutting others off, etc.
  • Having trouble with relationships and sometimes avoiding them completely
  • Feeling worthless and as if no one in the world can relate to your situation
  • Having headaches or stomach aches, feeling dizzy
  • Self-harming, abusing alcohol or drugs.
  • Feeling suicidal often
Other types of PTSD

Other types of PTSD

This page focuses mainly on complex PTSD or CPTSD. That doesn’t mean that this type is the only way PTSD occurs, though. The other types of PTSD are:

  • acute stress disorder: a well-known reaction to a traumatic event that can develop into PTSD if left untreated;
  • uncomplicated PTSD: linked to a single traumatic event and treatment is fairly straightforward and overall very effective;
  • dissociative PTSD: known for its dissociative symptoms and emotional detachment, needing a specific mix of treatments;
  • comorbid PTSD: indicates PTSD co-occurring with other mental health disorders. U-center specialises in comorbidity;

Recovering from CPTSD at U-center

U-center works with PTSD patients every day. Complex PTSD is one of the mental health disorders we come across regularly, so we know how to help you recover. Furthermore, we believe that every patient is unique and requires a unique approach and treatment plan.

Depending on your needs, your therapy plan may include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) or counselling with a mental health professional. Together, we’ll build trust and help you work through not just your PTSD, but the underlying causes and co-existing issues you might be dealing with (i.e. depression, addiction, etc.).

Don’t hesitate to contact one of our experts for more information or look into admission at U-center. We’d be happy to help.

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