What is Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD)?
CPTSD typically forms from prolonged exposure to stressors and/or trauma during childhood, specifically when these types of events occur during the developmental years. Various and complex symptom presentations may present as CPTSD. CPTSD may also appear to be a myriad of diagnoses all occurring at one time. Below we will discuss common symptoms of CPTSD.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) does not contain a CPTSD diagnosis code; however, the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) does. CPTSD can be unintentionally misdiagnosed due to its complex presentation.
What Creates CPTSD?
As noted above, prolonged stress or trauma exposure during childhood can influence the development of CPTSD symptoms. Stress and trauma during childhood can take many forms. The list below contains a number of examples:
- Caregiver neglect
- Limited connection and attunement with a caregiver(s)
- Exposure and/threat of risk to life or wellbeing
- Inability to protect or leave traumatic environments
- Domestic violence in the household
As a child experiences chronic stress and/or trauma, their brain and body adapt to ensure survival. The result are changes in how this child experiences emotions; regulates their mood and nervous system; perceives themselves and the world; and difficulty connecting with others and themself. The good news is that trauma therapy can help one live a meaningful life and heal from CPTSD.
What Are Common Symptoms of CPTSD?
- Difficulty managing affect and mood fluctuations
- Feeling unsafe around others and in your own body
- Difficulty trusting yourself and others
- Challenges with impulse control
- Dissociation to include depersonalization and derealization
- Challenges with maintaining a sense of self and self-esteem
- Avoidance, escape, and control
- View self as broken and unable to heal
- Challenges forming healthy attachment patterns to others
As CPTSD symptoms develop they can look like many other psychiatric diagnoses. It is not uncommon for those with CPTSD to experience physical, medical issues, or chronic health concerns.
Can Trauma Therapy Near Cherry Creek Help CPTSD?
A child that grows older and begins to have CPTSD symptoms may feel like their world may never change for the better. It is important to mention that people can recover from CPTSD. Below is a list of specific trauma therapies that can support someone with CPTSD include:
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy (LINK)
- Somatic Experiencing
- Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP)
- Internal Family Systems
These forms of therapy work from a bottom-up approach to heal trauma. This means they target the brainstem first, then the midbrain, and lastly the cerebral cortex versus talk therapy that provides mental health therapy in reverse or top-down.
Find CPTSD Therapy in Denver
Yes. Our founder, Daniel Gospodarek, is trained and currently working towards his EMDR certification. He has taken advanced trainings to support those living with CPTSD and their recovery. He has begun Somatic Experiencing (SE) training to integrate with EMDR therapy. We offer in-person therapy in South Denver to treat CPTSD. Additionally, we offer online trauma therapy in Colorado to increase access to care for all.
Call now or submit a form here to begin your journey in healing and growth. We look forward to hearing from you!