What is Complex PTSD?
Complex PTSD, Complex Trauma, Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or CPTSD is becoming more widely recognized by mental and medical health professionals. It is a post-traumatic stress disorder that results from repeated trauma over months or years, rather than PTSD which occurs from a single event. For example, repeated abuse or living in an unstable or emotionally volatile environment can result in the experience of complex trauma.
The name can be misleading and some people might come to understand it as being more complicated than PTSD. The reality is that it’s not and there is hope that you will get better! What makes it “complex” is that many individuals with CPTSD struggle to identify the traumatic event because the traumatic events happen so frequently, they are a part of that person’s normal life. This is unlike traditional PTSD with which we can easily identify a triggering situation. You can think of PTSD vs CPTSD as a traumatic experience vs. a lifetime of traumatic experiences.