top of page


Complex post-traumatic stress disorder (complex PTSD, sometimes abbreviated to c-PTSD or CPTSD) is a condition where you experience some symptoms of PTSD along with some additional symptoms, such as: difficulty controlling your emotions, feeling very angry or distrustful towards the world.

If a child develops CPTSD due to trauma early in life, they could also be misdiagnosed with autism. However, a mental health professional should be able to distinguish these two conditions because they are different.

Examples of PTSD Triggers (Also Known As Re-Experiencing):

  • Overwhelming emotions. Feeling misunderstood.

  • Shame spiral. Feeling like you are inadequate, bad, unworthy.

  • Lack of boundaries. Someone touching you without permission.

  • Too much stimuli. Loud sounds.

  • Anniversaries and memories. Nightmares.

  • Feeling unsafe.

  • Intimacy.

When someone with CPTSD encounters a trigger, they feel as if they are back in the traumatic event and can have physical and psychological symptoms as if they were experiencing the trauma all over again.

C-PTSD is a serious disorder and can be associated with other mental health conditions and substance use disorders. If you have experienced trauma and you are living with symptoms of C-PTSD, make an appointment with a mental healthcare provider. C-PTSD can be managed with treatment.

PTSD can be divided into four phases: the impact phase, the rescue phase, the intermediate recovery phase, and the long-term reconstruction phase. The impact phase encompasses initial reactions such as shock, fear, and guilt. In the rescue phase, the affected individual begins to come to terms with what has happened.

To avoid being triggered and develop a relative feeling of safety, people with C-PTSD may isolate themselves from the outside world, preferring to stay in a comfortable environment, like their home, alone.

Maintaining relationships can be challenging for anyone. However, despite additional challenges they may experience, people living with CPTSD can still nurture and maintain positive relationships. Behaviors that may help in any relationship include: sharing feelings openly and honestly with respect and compassion.

If you or someone you know is struggling with any of these symptoms, it may be a good idea to look deeper into this topic, and explore your options for taking the next steps toward managing it. Do your best to never allow anyone to make you feel like your feelings are not valid. Others may not understand what you are dealing with, even if you have explained it excessively, it is often a struggle for other people to actually be able to step into your shoes and know what you are dealing with.

It may be extremely difficult and complex, but it isn't impossible, and we have to remind ourselves that it is okay to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off as may times as we need to. It's Okay. ((((BIG WARM HUGS))))


bottom of page