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What Is C-PTSD, And What Can You Do About It?

Most people are familiar with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, also known as PTSD. This anxiety disorder can be a result of traumatic events such as a car accident or natural death. However, there’s a lesser-known condition known as Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD), which is a result of repeated trauma over the course of a few months or years.

Symptoms of CPTSD

CPTSD has the same symptoms as normal PTSD, including a few extras:

Reliving trauma

Affected individuals may frequently relive their trauma through nightmares or flashbacks.

Avoiding specific situations

People with PTSD often involve certain situations that remind them of traumatic events, such as driving or large crowds. They might also keep themselves preoccupied with other activities to avoid thinking about these events.

No emotional regulation

People with CPTSD often undergo uncontrollable feelings, such as ongoing sadness or explosive sadness.

Negative self-perception

People feel guilty or ashamed to the point of feeling like they’re completely different from others around them.

Relationship difficulties

CPTSD often leads people into avoiding relationships with others due to mistrust or a general sense of not knowing the right way to interact. On the flip side, they might seek out relationships with toxic people who harm them since the feeling is familiar.

Causes of CPTSD

Any longer experience of trauma can lead to CPTSD, but it’s more frequent in people who faced abuse by someone who held a role of being their protector or caregiver—for example, survivors of childhood sexual abuse or human trafficking. Other forms of long-term trauma that can cause CPTSD include:

· Ongoing emotional, sexual, or physical abuse

· Living in war-torn areas for a long time

· Being a war prisoner

· Continuous childhood neglect

Risk factors

Anyone can develop this mental condition if exposed to long-term trauma, however, some people are more likely to fall victim to it than others. Risk factors include:

· Underlying mental illnesses like depression or anxiety

· Temperament

· The brain’s response to stress and regulation of neurochemicals

· Lifestyle factors like a dangerous job or weak support system


CPTSD can be treated through various forms of psychotherapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy or dialectical behavioral therapy. These talk therapies help individuals identify their negative thought patterns in order to replace them with healthier, positive thoughts.

CPTSD symptoms can also be helped with medication such as antidepressants when combined with therapy. Depending on the severity of your trauma, you might only need to take them for a short time as you learn proper coping strategies.

Working through C-PTSD by yourself is extremely difficult. It’s essential for your mental health to have an empathetic individual to help you heal and delve into the root of the trauma. Stem Wellness provides top-notch mental health psychotherapy in a safe space to enable clients to heal over time.

Our services also include family therapy, psychotherapy counseling, marriage or relationship counseling in New Jersey.

Contact us to find out more today.

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