What is the Difference Between PTSD and Complex PTSD (C-PTSD)?



This video describes the differences between PTSD and C-PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder versus complex posttraumatic stress disorder). PTSD is an official mental health disorder in a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) so a diagnosis of PTSD can be given if someone meets the full criteria for that disorder. C-PTSD is more of a concept. It’s not an official mental health disorder and there’s a lot of overlap between PTSD and C-PTSD. With PTSD, there are a number of symptom criteria. First, we need a qualifying trauma for posttraumatic stress disorder, and that could be directly experiencing a trauma, witnessing a trauma, and there’s some other circumstances that could occur. We see symptoms of intrusion, like distressing memories distressing dreams, flashbacks. There are symptoms of avoidance, like avoiding reminders of the trauma, trying to avoid thoughts and feelings associated with the trauma. There are negative mood symptoms, like a negative emotional state. There are symptoms of arousal, so this would be anger, hypervigilance, or a sleep disturbance, for example. Complex PTSD is somewhat similar, but the difference starts with the trauma. PTSD has a number of potential qualifying traumas. Complex PTSD the trauma is usually considered repetitive or continuous. The trauma associated with C-PTSD is often thought of as child physical abuse, child sexual abuse, or some other type of trauma that occurs repeatedly and usually during childhood. In general, the severity, frequency, and duration of symptoms would be considered greater with C- PTSD. Common C-PTSD symptoms include distorted perceptions about the perpetrator, difficulties with relationships, distrust, isolation, loss of meaning, and hopelessness.

Source: Youtube