Complex PTSD

Posttraumatic stress disorder

The fulfiller and the diagnostic criteria for PTSD: it includes symptoms such as flashbacks, nightmares, heightened alertness, restlessness, avoidance of external triggers as well as thoughts and feelings that remind one of the traumatic event.

Complex symptom picture

In some cases, one also sees symptoms beyond what characterizes PTSD, where the person, in addition to the above-mentioned ailments, struggles with a pervasive:

Negative self-image (thoughts of being diminished, destroyed or worthless)

Relational difficulties (challenges related to maintaining relationships and feeling close to others)

Difficulties with affect regulation (increased emotional reactivity, outbursts, self-destructive behavior, dissociation under pressure, emotional flattening and inability to feel positive emotions such as joy, belonging and contact)

Often you see too bodily pain or somatic complaints. This usually manifests itself as complex somatic conditions without medical findings and/or changes in pain threshold.

The ailments must be of such a severity that it reduces function across several areas of life.

Why does someone develop complex ptsd?

In such cases, the term is often used complex PTSD. This is a condition that can develop if the person from early childhood and adolescence has experienced traumatic events, or extensive overwhelming and recurring trauma in adulthood.

What types of experiences are considered serious trauma?

It is therefore often about recurring or repetitive events of an extremely threatening nature, where recovering from the threat is difficult or impossible.

Examples of this can be captivity, torture, slavery, genocide, violence in close relationships, sexual abuse or physical abuse.  

Treatment of complex PTSD

There are several treatment methods that have proven effective for treating PTSD and complex PTSD. Common to all is that they implement exposure in its approach.

This means that one wants to identify various forms of avoidance and actively break behavior that perpetuates the disorder.

Gradually reduce the interference of the past in the present. Teach the body and mind, through experience, that what happened before does not happen now.

PTSD and complex PTSD test

On this links you will find a questionnaire "The international trauma questionnaire (ITQ)" which is shown to have both reliability and validity associated with the measurement of key aspects and symptoms associated with both types of conditions as defined in ICD-11.

Complex PTSD is introduced as a separate diagnosis in ICD-11.

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