C-PTSD stands for complex post traumatic distress disorder. This is my current diagnosis as of 2017 alongside FND/conversion disorder.
PTSD is not just for war worn soldiers. Not all soldiers wear camo and carry weapons. Some of them wear the same pajamas for weeks on end and carry nausea in the pit of their gut.
The main difference between c-ptsd and standard ptsd is the following:
- ongoing or extensive trauma over a length of time, from many incidents, such as multiple abusers and types of abuse, rather than just a one time incident such as a car crash
- no filter and is easily overwhelmed rather than just exaggerated startle reflex
- total social avoidance rather than just avoidance of triggers
- night terrors and chronic insomnia sometimes related to trauma and other times seemingly irrelevant
- often co-morbid disassociation identity disorder is diagnosed and often there is a fragmented sense of identity
- exceeding depression and anxiety and suffering severe inability to control mood and emotions as a whole
- flashbacks (features in both)
- hyper-vigilance, paranoia and preoccupation with abuser and possible threats
- dissociative seizures or altered states of consciousness including psychosis
Neither one is ‘worse’ than the other. They are both frightening and disabling and very real disorders of the mind.
A change in personality, behaviors or even hobbies and morals is not uncommon in people with an additional DID diagnosis. For some this is a severe alteration and for others it is mild and hardly noticeable.
PTSD causes physical changes to occur in the brain. There is often enlargement or over activity in the amygdala, hippocampus and pre-frontal cortex. For this reason, the suffer cannot simply ‘get over it.’ Trauma literally changes who you are on an organic matter level.
Flashbacks in C-PTSD differs slightly from PTSD flashbacks. In C-PTSD the flashback is an often sudden and prolonged (and of course most unwelcome) It causes regression to the incident or state of mind and emotion when being abused or during that time period. This is usually linked to the overwhelming fear, depression, anger, grief and countless other emotive states, the sufferer may be seemingly experiencing with no cause. These flashbacks can also include sensory interjections such as seeing the incident reoccur or smelling a smell from that moment; like aftershave.
These wild emotions, intense flashbacks and altered states can be severe and difficult for both sufferer and those they love.
The treatment is not simple or an overnight phenomena. It takes great courage and effort from the diagnosed abuse survivor and the dependence of compassion from the diagnosing and treating medical professionals and believe me, not all medical professionals are sympathetic to their patients ailments.
Extensive therapy such as CBT and talking therapies help and more recently EDMR therapy is being shown to have a much greater success rate on those with trauma related illnesses.
This mixed with medication can give the person a quality of life back and help them to process the abuses and manage their symptoms more effectively.
For more info on PTSD, be you a sufferer or carer, please check out the following link or visit your local GP- http://www.ptsduk.org/