Person struggling with complex PTSD

What Is Complex PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that is often misunderstood. And many people do not even realize they have this disorder. It is essential to learn what PTSD and complex PTSD are so you can recognize these types of trauma-related conditions and seek the appropriate treatment. 

If you think you may be dealing with PTSD, the help you need is available at My 5 Palms. Our PTSD treatment program will provide you with a customized combination of therapies and medication to help you overcome the effects of past trauma. Call us today at 1.844.675.1022 with questions or schedule an intake assessment. 

Understanding Complex PTSD 

What is complex post-traumatic stress disorder? To understand what complex PTSD is, it helps first to be familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD is a mental health condition that affects people who have experienced traumatic events. For the most part, PTSD originates from a single traumatic event. 

What makes complex PTSD different is that it is triggered by prolonged or repeated exposure to traumatic events or an abusive environment. 

Recognizing Types of Trauma That Can Cause Complex PTSD 

Similar traumatic events can cause post-traumatic stress disorder and complex PTSD. The primary difference is in the length or recurrence of events. Some types of trauma that can lead to complex PTSD include the following. 

Childhood Trauma 

Although children can be very resilient, they are also susceptible to trauma from experiences early in their lives, whether they realize it or not. Some forms of childhood trauma that can result in complex PTSD are chronic neglect, abandonment, bullying, or physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. 

A traumatic event does not necessarily have to happen directly to the child to cause complex PTSD. It can also occur by witnessing something terrible happening to another person. Some children can also develop CPTSD from growing up in households with substance abuse or domestic violence.  

Domestic Violence or Abuse 

Contrary to popular belief, physical abuse is not the only form of domestic violence. Being in a relationship that includes long-term physical, emotional, or sexual abuse can contribute to the development of complex PTSD. 

Military Combat or War 

Military combat is one of the most well-known contributors to PTSD. Soldiers deployed in war zones are often exposed to unspeakable violence and trauma associated with conflict or terrorism. On that note, people living in war zones are also susceptible to complex PTSD. 


People who survive traumatic events such as being kidnapped, held hostage, or forced into human trafficking are also more likely to experience CPTSD. 

Treatment for PTSD 

Treatment for complex post-traumatic stress disorder is similar to that of other mental health conditions. The primary difference is that trauma-informed therapies are incorporated into the treatment plan. Some standard components of a PTSD treatment program include: 

  • Therapy – Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) are two of the most commonly used therapies for mental health conditions and can be helpful for people struggling with PTSD. For more targeted treatment, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) and other trauma-focused therapies will be used to help you process the trauma and move on from it. 
  • Medication – Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications may help alleviate the anxiety and depression that often go along with PTSD. 
  • Support groups – Connecting with others who have experienced similar trauma lets you know that others understand what you are going through so you do not feel so alone as you work toward healing. 

In addition to reaching out to others for help overcoming complex PTSD, you can also benefit from self-care practices like getting regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, prioritizing rest, and practicing mindfulness or meditation. 

Heal from PTSD by Calling My 5 Palms in Florida 

Post-traumatic stress disorder can be a debilitating condition, but you do not have to let it rob you of your overall health and happiness any longer. Reach out to My 5 Palms online or call 1.844.675.1022 to learn how our PTSD treatment program can help you overcome your symptoms and gain a greater sense of calm and emotional balance. 

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