Complex PTSD (C-PTSD) is a mental illness that affects the persons ability to function in society. Complex PTSD is a relatively "new" illness. Of course it is not actually new, however patients are only recently being properly treated for it. People who have Complex PTSD are often misdiagnosed as having depression or an anxiety disorder. Like regular PTSD a person with Complex PTSD will often display signs of depression, anxiety, mood swings and erratic behavior. Complex PTSD is different to regular PTSD although the symptoms of complex PTSD are the same, if not very similar.
Unlike regular PTSD, Complex PTSD is not caused by a single traumatic event. Instead Complex PTSD is caused by multiple traumatic events during a person's lifetime. This can be over a long or short period of time, the trauma can be sustained over many years. In most cases the cause of trauma is the result of childhood abuse. Often left undiagnosed for years Complex PTSD can lay dormant with the symptoms not showing until later in life when these traumatic (often suppressed) memories begin to surface.
The abuse can be physical, mental, emotional or sexual, it can also be any combination of these types of abuse. Both regular PTSD and Complex PTSD can last many years, however Complex PTSD does seem to take longer to treat. That being said Complex PTSD just like PTSD is treatable and people who suffer this mental illness are able to live normal, happy and fulfilling lives.
Complex PTSD Symptoms
Knowing how to identify Complex PTSD symptoms is important for proper diagnosis. The symptoms of Complex PTSD can be wide and varied as the illness affects different people in different ways. Difficulty in regulating emotions is a major symptom of Complex PTSD. These difficulties include constant sadness and depressive feelings as well as serve suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts.
A person suffering Complex PTSD will often show signs of poor self perception, with feelings of guilt, shame and hopelessness. A person can also feel as though they are different from everybody else and thus find it difficult in social situations. As a result the person with Complex PTSD can isolate themselves from the rest of the world.
Complex PTSD symptoms are similar if not identical to the symptoms of depression, this is why people who have Complex PTSD are constantly misdiagnosed as just having depression. Complex PTSD is considered a lot more serve than stand alone depression and sufferers of Complex PTSD should receive different treatment.
Other Complex PTSD symptoms include erratic or violent behavior, dissociation and memory loss.
If you know anyone displaying these warning signs of Complex PTSD, you should encourage them to seek treatment. Complex PTSD is treatable under the right counsel, it is not however self-treatable and people should not try to deal with this condition on their own. Complex PTSD does not go away by itself, to live a happy, normal and fulfilling life people with this mental illness need to seek help.