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What is C-PTSD?

LittleMissNameless

LittleMissNameless

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from the perspective of real people who have it.
 
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Jules5

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Complex Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. A multitude of traumatic experiences comprise this diagnosis.
 
LittleMissNameless

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What makes it different from PTSD?
 
AliceinWonderland

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I'm not diagnosed with this, although I feel I should be. People with C-PTSD are often misdiagnosed with other conditions, in women Borderline Personality Disorder is often diagnosed instead. For me it was Bipolar, and later on traits of BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder). My last psychiatrist agreed that my symptoms were caused by the trauma I'd experienced as a child. In the UK it hasn't tended to be used so much as a diagnosis as much as it is elsewhere. It's only very recently been included in diagnostic guidelines as a distinct disorder from PTSD.

For me personally I feel it arises from having experienced prolongued trauma that I was not able to escape from at a young age (C-PTSD can arise from prolongued trauma in adulthood as well). In my case I was subjected to abuse and emotional neglect throughout my childhood. The main effect this has had on me in terms of symptoms, has been depression and suicidal tendencies, a very negative view of myself, difficulty in regulating my emotions, difficulties in relationships and trusting people, and anxiety and hypervigilance.

The good news is, there is effective help for this, treatment is possible, and since getting help I've not continued to suffer symptoms to the degree I did as a younger adult. Whilst it can take a long time and a lot of effort, understandably, to alleviate the effects of having suffered ongoing trauma, a lot of improvement is possible. There's a lot you can do in terms of self help, if seeing a therapist isn't possible. I don't feel I'll ever completely 'get over' what I went through, but... I no longer experience the suicidality I used to, good relationships are possible, I rarely nowadays experience the self-hate I used to, and many other aspects of life are easier.

Was this the sort of thing you wanted to know? Are there any other questions you have? Are you wondering whether this diagnosis applies to yourself I wonder, and are you ok?

Take care

Alice
 
AliceinWonderland

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For anyone wondering about what symptoms of C-PTSD are like, here are a couple of threads that might be helpful


 
LittleMissNameless

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Was this the sort of thing you wanted to know? Are there any other questions you have? Are you wondering whether this diagnosis applies to yourself I wonder, and are you ok?

Take care

Alice
I was diagnosed with BPD, GAD and SAD I've experienced agoraphobia as a result. I have the anxiety disorders from a traumatic childhood.

and though I haven't formally been diagnosed with PTSD I have had flashbacks and struggle with processing the trauma from my childhood. I was just noticing the CPTSD overlap in criteria with BPD and was wondering how distinct they are from each other
 
AliceinWonderland

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I'm sorry to hear you've had a traumatic childhood too, and that you've suffered with long term symptoms as a result.

Yes, there is certainly an overlap in diagnostic criteria between BPD and C-PTSD, and as I mentioned, many women especially are diagnosed with BPD when C-PTSD might be a more appropriate diagnosis.

Personally, I found that when I was diagnosed with BPD traits, that made me feel like I was defective and intrinsically flawed. It felt like a personal judgment on me and my behaviour. Not everyone feels this way of course, and it wasn't intended as any sort of judgement by the person who diagnosed me. Some find a BPD diagnosis very helpful in understanding why they feel and behave as they do, but for me it felt discouraging rather than encouraging. But personally I found it hard to ignore the assumptions that go with a BPD diagnosis, and embrace having a name and explanation for it as a positive thing enabling me to deal better with my symptoms.

As Pete Walker points out diagnoses such as BPD "are typically treated as innate characterological defects rather than as learned maladaptations to stress - adaptations that survivors were forced to learn as traumatized children. And, most importantly, because these adaptations were learned, they can often be extinguished or significantly diminished, and replaced with more functional adaptations to stress." (Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving - Pete Walker 2013).

So in my case I prefer to think of my symptoms as a result of trauma, rather than something inborn that would always have occurred whether I'd had a traumatic childhood or not.

Does BPD ever occur without trauma having happened to the person? Idk without looking into it. I'm sure I've read articles pointing out the overlap and the differences between the two conditions. I'm tending to think that, where there has been trauma, maybe C-PTSD is always going to be a more helpful diagnosis, and a more constructive way of framing things, and allows more possibility that the underlying reasons for the symptoms can be addressed and overcome.
 
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Coolname

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An overview of differences between BPD and CPTSD.
Not that I put much stock in MH diagnoses. I wouldn't be surprised if a number of today's recognised disorders are not seen as kosher in 10 years.
 
LittleMissNameless

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An overview of differences between BPD and CPTSD.
Not that I put much stock in MH diagnoses. I wouldn't be surprised if a number of today's recognised disorders are not seen as kosher in 10 years.
Its interesting to me that subtle difference between BPD fear of abandonment and general fear in CPTSD. It feels to me a certain degree of interpretation is used on the clinicians part.
 
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Coolname

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Its interesting to me that subtle difference between BPD fear of abandonment and general fear in CPTSD. It feels to me a certain degree of interpretation is used on the clinicians part.
Perhaps. I am not diagnosed with anything. I can say that general fear for me means my adrenaline is constantly pumping to some extent and, when I am not well, even the most prosaic activity can inspire terror.
 
River of Circle

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Hello. I've been diagnosed with Depression, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), as well as C-PTSD. As I understand it, C-PTSD differs from PTSD in that C-PTSD is due to a series of various traumas, most often seen in different childhood abuses (as is my case), where PTSD is generally a singular traumatic event. Or at least that's what I've understood the difference to be.
 
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