Although major symptoms are similar across the board, there are different types of PTSD. Depending on type, symptoms may be more severe or long-lasting, or they may require different types of therapeutic treatments. Given how detailed my last two posts concerning the subject matter might be, don’t be afraid to take it all in small, bite sized pieces.
PTSD may have become more familiar to the common person, but there is a lesser-known variation of PTSD called complex PTSD (c-PTSD). The traditional form of PTSD may emerge after a single traumatic event. An example may be a life-threatening car crash. A person who lived through a car crash may find themselves afraid of driving, avoid getting in the car or driving in traffic, and have other symptoms associated with PTSD.
C-PTSD, on the other hand, is the result of repeated or ongoing traumatic events. Those who develop c-PTSD may have suffered ongoing childhood abuse, neglect, or repeatedly witnessed violence acted out on someone else. C-PTSD is more often associated with people who experience trauma in their childhood. It affects development, since they’re exposed to trauma during a highly developmental time in their life. This term is not in the DSM-5, but it is a term that mental health workers use to help describe the difference between someone who has experienced a single traumatic event, and one that has experienced chronic trauma, especially in childhood.
Symptoms of c-PTSD are similar to PTSD, but they also include additional behavioral differences:
- Negative self-view. Those with c-PTSD may think very poorly of themselves or may carry ongoing feelings of guilt, shame, and helplessness.
- Trouble controlling or regulating emotions. An explosive temper, given easily to sadness, or even have feelings of depression or suicidal thoughts.
- Difficulty developing or maintaining relationships. Trouble trusting others and will avoid starting relationships.
- Dissociative symptoms. Disconnected thoughts, memories, actions, difficulty concentrating, and identity. Some develop alternative identities. It’s a brain’s defense mechanism that tries to escape reality. Some people may also suffer from amnesia. Therapy can help people diagnosed with c-PTSD, but it’s usually a longer process and takes more effort from a therapist and patient to undo the damage done in childhood.
PTS or Post Traumatic Stress is actually not a type of PTSD, but it could be a precursor for it. Those with PTS experience many of the same symptoms as PTSD such as avoidance or nightmares. The difference is that those who suffer from PTS experience those symptoms with less severity and for a shorter period of time. People with PTSD will continue showing those symptoms for longer periods of time and with greater intensity.
According to Dr. James Bender of the Deployment Health Clinical Center: PTS is a common, normal, and often adaptive response to experiencing a traumatic or stressful event. Common occurrences, like car accidents, can trigger PTS as well as more unusual events like military combat or kidnapping. Almost everyone who experiences a scary situation will show at least a few signs of post-traumatic stress. Symptoms from PTS will subside after a few days and they won’t interfere with a person’s life in any meaningful way. The traumatic event may make them more careful in the future, but it won’t stop them from living their life normally.
Those with comorbid PTSD are people who have both PTSD and another mental disorder. In this case, someone may have PTSD and depression, or PTSD and generalized anxiety disorder. Anxiety, depression, and substance abuse are the most common types of comorbidity with PTSD. It’s estimated that as much as 80% of people with PTSD have another co-occurring psychiatric disability.
Thanks for being here! Your readership of my blog is much appreciated, and I hope it has been a learning experience thus far. PTSD sufferers often exhibit risky behaviors, which often affects their relationships-the focus of the next post.
Hope to have you!
To Your Success,