5 Important Complex PTSD Symptoms that You Shouldn’t Ignore

Post-traumatic stress disorder, otherwise known as PTSD, affects about 8 million people each year in the United States.

While you may have heard of PTSD, there is another type called complex PTSD, or C-PTSD.

But what is the difference between C-PTSD and PTSD? What are come complex PTSD symptoms and how do they overlap with PTSD?

In this article, you’ll learn more about C-PTSD and what symptoms you need to be aware of.

What is Complex PTSD?

To start, PTSD is a mental condition that arises due to intense traumatic events such as a car accident, a death, war, sexual trauma, or other similar instances. PTSD doesn’t discriminate and affects people at any age, even children.

Complex PTSD is a bit more involved. There are different symptoms and the duration of C-PTSD is longer, known as chronic trauma. It’s more likely to occur if the person experiences repeated trauma, such as domestic violence, neglect, sexual abuse, or any other trauma that seems inescapable.

This is why C-PTSD is stronger in people when the trauma occurs in childhood because children may be under the supervision of a parent or caregiver who is causing the trauma.

While the DSM-5 does not acknowledge C-PTSD as a complete mental disorder, it does agree that there are other symptoms that need to be recognized that may indicate a greater level of PTSD. However, it is included in the ICD-11.

Complex PTSD Symptoms

There are many symptoms of PTSD and not everyone will experience the same ones. Symptoms may appear a month or so after the event, but some could take longer. Some of these symptoms may include:

  • Nightmares
  • Flashbacks
  • Guilt
  • Sweating
  • Feeling sick
  • Distrust of others
  • Avoiding situations that remind you of the traumatic event
  • Anxiety or hyper-arousal

While some or all of these symptoms are present in C-PTSD, there are additional symptoms that point to C-PTSD. Here’s a list of possible symptoms you might find in someone with C-PTSD.

1. Preoccupied With Abuser

The relationship between the person and their abuser is a toxic one, and it’s likely to remain that way.

A person with C-PTSD may be preoccupied with their abuser. This could mean having a distorted image of them, allowing them to have dominance or control over you, or possibly plotting revenge.

2. Consciousness and Detachment

Trauma actually changes the brain in areas like the hippocampus, amygdala, and prefrontal cortex. This can lead to a change in consciousness, meaning the person can actually forget the traumatic times.

It also includes feelings of detachment, in which you physically feel detached from your emotions. This type of detachment is called dissociation.

3. Difficulty Managing Emotions

The person may have difficulty managing their emotions. They may be prone to outbursts of anger, feelings of suicide, or extreme sadness. They may engage in self-destructive behaviors or isolate themselves from others.

4. Relationship Troubles

People with C-PTSD may find their relationships challenging, whether they’re in a new relationship or with family.

This is due to a lack of trust in people in general. The person may also search for someone to save them from their trauma or seek out a person similar to the abuser because they have no portrait of a healthy relationship.

5. Negative View of Self

Sadly, C-PTSD may result in a negative self-image. Because of the long-term trauma, those with C-PTSD do not view themselves in a positive, healthy light.

They likely have the same emotions similar to PTSD, but may have guilt, shame, feel helpless, or feel like they’re on a completely different planet than others. This makes it hard to connect with other people as well.

Remember, just as in PTSD, you may or may not have all of the symptoms associated with C-PTSD. It’s important to evaluate your symptoms and which ones appear and interfere with your life.

How is C-PTSD Diagnosed?

Because there’s no test for determining if someone has C-PTSD, it might be a little more difficult to pin down, especially since it’s newer to the mental-health world. However, your doctor can help you determine if there’s a diagnosis.

They may ask you to keep track of your symptoms and the severity of them. Then, the doctor may ask you about any traumatic events you’ve experienced and if you, or anyone in your family, have a history of mental health issues.

You may receive a diagnosis of PTSD, but if the trauma was chronic, they may diagnose you with C-PTSD.

Treatments and Management of C-PTSD

There are some treatments available for someone with C-PTSD, but it just depends on how severe the symptoms are and what symptoms are present.

A variety of medications are available to help control symptoms. Other therapies like cognitive processing therapy, holistic therapies, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing also may provide some relief.

Supporting Those With C-PTSD

C-PTSD is difficult to understand for those who’ve not experienced trauma. But it’s a serious condition that needs to be dealt with gently. They may seem like a different person or reject any good thing or thought you try to help them with.

Though it’s sad, this is a normal part of C-PTSD.

Support groups exist for those that suffer from C-PTSD. Encourage the person to get help or therapy, and learn as much as you can about C-PTSD.

C-PTSD: There is Hope

Knowing complex PTSD symptoms can be helpful in differentiating between PTSD and C-PTSD. Because it’s a serious condition finding help sooner rather than later may result in a better quality of life.

Is someone you love suffering from C-PTSD? Our team of experts can help. Contact us today to learn more about our services.

Natural Supplements For Depression

Everybody Gets the Blues

Are you feeling blue? Are you down in the dumps, lacking energy, or sleeping all the time? Or, perhaps your motivation to accomplish your previously-longed-for dreams has suddenly vanished. Maybe your concentration is gone, or you don’t feel like eating. Or, maybe you suddenly want to eat all the time? Is self-worth an issue recently? Are you having thoughts of death or suicide, even passively?

All of these (slightly scary) symptoms are signs of depression. Having one, some, or all of these types of symptoms happens to everyone at one time or another. However, when it seems that “blue” is the only color you can use to describe how you are feeling, it’s time to do something more. When you feel depressed for two weeks or more, it is time to take action. 

The National Institute of Mental Health, in their 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, reports that approximately 17.3 million adults in the United States have had at least one major depressive episode. This number represents about 7.1 percent of all adults in the United States.

An occasional bout of the blues is not abnormal, but persistent depression is not something out of which you can talk yourself. Seeking the expertise of a healthcare professional is always the place for people with depression, or for people who have symptoms of depression, to begin. Getting a proper diagnosis can only occur by talking to a healthcare professional. Once correctly diagnosed, the course of treatment that you and your health care professional develop together may require a long-term approach, but it is entirely up to you what this approach will entail. Part of your treatment plan may include psychotherapy, along with FDA-approved prescription medications for treating your depression. Another avenue that you and your health care professional may discuss is the use of natural remedies for the treatment of depression. 

The Downside of Prescription Antidepressants

Common medications prescribed for people with depression are known as antidepressants. The Food and Drug Administration states that most prescription antidepressants fall into one of the following classifications: SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), SNRIs (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, TCAs (tricyclic antidepressants), and MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors).  

Prescribed antidepressants affect varying neurotransmitters in the brain in a few different ways, and many people who suffer from mild to moderate depression find antidepressants to be beneficial. However, many people do not want to be prescribed antidepressants.

There is a long list of possible side effects that come along with antidepressants; however, that can sometimes encourage people to choose a different route of treatment.  

Here are some of those:  

  • Feeling nauseous, dizzy, tired all the time
  • Having dry mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Excessive sweating
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • A loss of appetite
  • Headaches
  • Experiencing nervousness
  • Vomiting
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Agitation
  • Weight gain
  • A change in sexual function or sexual desire
  • Sleep disturbances 

 There are also more severe risks, such as developing high blood pressure, suicidal thinking, or the possibility of congenital disabilities in women who are pregnant. Another reason people may not want to be on a prescribed antidepressant is that there are, indeed, less drastic options. Or, their depression may not be severe enough to warrant the use of prescription antidepressants. For these candidates, there are other approaches. One alternative might be to try natural supplements for depression. There are many supplements available for use as a means to help depression.

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Enter: Natural Remedies

People with depression who might be interested in trying natural remedies have several choices. There are several dietary supplements available that may alleviate some of the symptoms of depression. 

Most nutritional supplements work by affecting neurotransmitters in the brain. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that help your mind and body function. One of these neurotransmitters is serotonin. Dietary supplements include herbs, minerals, vitamins, and amino acids. 

St. John’s Wort 

The most commonly used supplement for depression is St. John’s Wort. St. John’s Wort, also known as Hypericum perforatum, is a plant. When used as a dietary supplement, it acts in a way similar to reuptake inhibitors, affecting neurotransmitters in the brain.  

Omega-3 fatty acids 

If you ask any dietician or psychiatrist, they’ll likely tell you that Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the essential vitamins for cognitive function. Omega-3 fatty acids are thought to help with depression. This fatty acid is found in fish oil and marine algae believed to be a brain-boosting over-the-counter dietary supplement that helps the serotonin in your brain work better. Serotonin helps regulate mood, social behavior, aid in appetite and digestion, and also helps with your sleep, your memory, and your sexual function.  

Ginkgo Biloba 

Ginkgo biloba helps reduce symptoms of depression by improving protect neurotransmitters. Another dietary supplement, chamomile, has tranquility-enhancing properties that help people with depression.

San Diego Depression Treatment

Having depression can be debilitating. Talking with your health care professional should be your first step in developing a plan to combat depression. Together with your doctor, you may develop a treatment plan that includes supplements as remedies for depression. Their medicinal qualities can help alleviate stress, enhance the effects of neurotransmitters, and work to decrease the symptoms of depression.

Talk to your doctor to see which supplement for depression is going to be your best option. You should not stop taking any current medications without talking to your health care professional. Also, keep in mind that the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate supplements for depression. Many dietary supplements may interact with other medications that you are taking, and many cause unwanted reactions or side effects.

Common Comorbid Mental Illnesses That Occur With OCD

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a significant anxiety disorder that is chronic and relatively common in the United States. 

OCD is characterized by many different symptoms, though it mainly presents itself through uncontrollable and intrusive thoughts, known as “obsessions,” followed by repetitive behaviors, or “compulsions”.

Although OCD is a severe mental illness to have, other mental illnesses also often occur with it, such as Body Dysmorphic Disorder, Panic Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), and depression. 

Unfortunately, a dual-diagnosis has the potential to make treatment a bit more severe and complicated sometimes. Having a thorough understanding of comorbid disorders that often occur alongside an OCD diagnosis, however, can contribute to a more clear course of treatment and better recovery odds. 

Comorbidity in mental health treatment is when someone exhibits more than one mental illness at once. For example, anxiety and depression are often jointly diagnosed. Usually, each of these illnesses can either lead to other disorders’ development or feed each other simultaneously. Therefore, all medical and psychological professionals prefer to treat all comorbid diseases at the same time.

Understanding OCD

The term “OCD” frequently occurs in mainstream conversations nowadays. Many people claim they have the Disorder simply because they have “Type A” personalities and are quite organized. However, this is a dangerous way to speak of such a mental illness, considering Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder involves its sufferer experiencing more distress and destruction than someone who prefers to double-check their work or keep a calendar may experience.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a mental disorder that lies within the category of anxiety disorders. 

Those with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder exhibit certain common traits like perfectionism and sometimes even superstitiousness. 

Obsessions involve intrusive thoughts, images, and urges that cause significant distress to the individual experiencing them. When it comes down to it, obsessions are thought to stem from some subconscious fears or even a need for control. Some obsessions may include:

  • Fear of germs and contamination
  • Frightening thoughts that occur about harming one’s self or other people
  • A need for symmetry
  • Intrusive, disturbing sexual thoughts
  • Extreme religious beliefs
  • Hoarding

Compulsions are actions, behaviors, and habits that are the direct responses to the fears created by intrusive thoughts and obsessions. 

Some compulsions include:

  • “Checking” behavior, such as someone being consistently late to work from checking whether their door is locked an inappropriate number of times
  • Excessive cleaning or hand washing
  • Praying, or repeating certain words over and over again until one feels calmer
  • Replaying of scenarios in one’s head repetitively
  • Rumination
  • Reassurance-seeking

In general, someone with OCD is unable to control their obsessions and compulsions to the point of extreme distress and detriment. It is at this point that someone may seek help.

Misconceptions About OCD

Although Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder can involve an extreme fear of germs and subsequent obsessive hand washing in many cases, not all obsessions and compulsions are the “common” ones discussed frequently. Someone doesn’t need to exhibit stereotypical OCD traits to have OCD. 

Some other types of OCD and OCD-related mental illnesses exist, such as Relationship Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (ROCD). Although not in the DSM-5 (the manual that many psychological professionals use to diagnose mental disorders) another subtype of “Pure O” exists. Pure O is defined as when someone experiences obsessions without acting on them or developing external compulsions.

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OCD and Panic Disorder

Considering OCD is included in the category of anxiety disorders, other anxieties have an enormous potential to occur alongside it. One anxiety disorder is Panic Disorder, where someone experiences panic attacks or subconsciously interprets an unnecessary amount of danger towards real or imagined stimuli. 

Considering many OCD sufferers’ compulsions develop from the fear of their obsessions, it’s not uncommon for them to also experience panic attacks as a result of their thoughts. 

OCD And Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Body Dysmorphic Disorder shares many common symptoms with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, such as constant “checking” behavior. 

BDD is characterized by the unhealthy preoccupation that some people have about their looks – and we’re not just talking about vanity. Those with BDD often hone in on certain flaws they see on their bodies, whether that’s a deformed body part or an imperfect curve. san diego ocd treatment centerMany people with Body Dysmorphia also tend to be intently focused on continually improving their appearance, whether through diets or surgery, as well as asking for reassurance about their looks. Often people with this Disorder will also avoid situations that may reveal their perceived flaws, such as going to parties or other social gatherings. 

Although Body Dysmorphia can contribute to eating disorders, the two illnesses are not exactly the same.

OCD And Depression

OCD and Major Depressive Disorder are known to exist comorbidly. No matter which mental illness develops first, the two can feed incessantly off of one another. Obsessive-compulsive Disorder can cause someone to feel stuck, hopeless, and suffer from low self-esteem – all of which are symptoms of depression.

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Not only this, but depressive disorders are speculated to occur due to an imbalance of brain chemicals like Serotonin- the very same Serotonin that many believe is to blame for OCD. 

Other comorbid illnesses can exist with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder than what was mentioned in this article. Professional treatment is needed for someone to recover from any mental illness. However, treatment isn’t the only answer. Those who suffer from OCD and other cognitive diseases must work to better themselves as well, exhibit bravery and resilience, and have a strong willingness to grow.

If you or a friend or family member are suffering from OCD, Contact Solara Mental Health to get treatment today.