Complex PTSD: How a new diagnosis differs from standard PTSD

Your palms sweat. Your heart races. You don’t remember where you are — are you here, now, or back in another, scarier time?

This is a flashback. And for many people living with PTSD, it’s a common experience. Faced with a reminder of a traumatic event, someone with PTSD can be jerked back into the mental, emotional and even physical experience of trauma.

But what happens when that trauma is ongoing, or a prolonged series of events? This is where a Complex PTSD diagnosis bridges an important behavioral health gap.

Basic Differences between PTSD and Complex PTSD

For many people with PTSD, this traumatic event was a singular occurrence: A natural disaster, or a single violent assault. But for survivors of ongoing trauma, flashbacks and other symptoms can be particularly intense. These survivors may suffer from a different form of PTSD, called “Complex PTSD” (C-PTSD) — also referred to as “disorders of extreme stress not otherwise specified.”

While the label Complex PTSD is still fairly new, many therapists and researchers believe that C-PTSD should have its own diagnosis, separate from simple PTSD. Recently, in fact, Complex PTSD even received its own mention in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM).

Wherever individual therapists stand on Complex PTSD’s difference from PTSD, one thing is certain: If you’ve experienced trauma and are suffering, you deserve care. And you can heal. Here’s how.

Read the full article at Talkspace.

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