A wide range of experiences have the capacity to inflict long-term trauma, from sudden, life-threatening events to longer-term, ongoing traumatic experiences, such as recurring abuse or parental neglect.
While most of us might experience negative psychological responses following exposure to traumatic events, over time we can expect them to fade and disappear. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and its more common variant, Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, are diagnosed when these symptoms persist or intensify for months or begin to interfere with our ability to function normally in our daily lives.
Clinicians generally separate this disorder into two categories:
1. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) describes a condition which develops after exposure to an isolated frightening, overwhelming, threatening or traumatic event or experience.
2. Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) describes a more common variation which results from ongoing, long-term trauma which occurs during developmentally important periods of life or times of extreme vulnerability. This form of trauma is inflicted between individuals and often involves a power imbalance (older-younger, parent-child, teacher-child).
Often, symptoms begin immediately or several weeks after a traumatic experience, but sometimes symptoms can take months or years to develop, which can be especially confusing and distressing.
Unfortunately, it’s common for people experiencing PTSD to suffer in silence and to engage in self-medicating through alcohol, drugs, sex, food and other destructive behaviours. Too often, it can feel like the only way to cope.
Indicators Of Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Symptoms of C-PTSD generally develop as a response to traumatic experiences in childhood or adolescence. The primary reason that trauma experienced in childhood – especially early childhood – can have such a lasting effect is because it occurs while our social, emotional and physical responses and identities are still undergoing development.
Such traumas may include a parent’s drinking or substance addiction; the death, imprisonment or separation of a loved one; witnessing or experiencing domestic violence; witnessing violence against pets or animals; and instances of physical abuse, sexual abuse or emotional abuse. Intimate, interpersonal or intentionally inflicted trauma often has the greatest long-term psychological impact.
Questions To Ask Yourself:
- Do you constantly feel on high alert and have a sense of impending doom?
- Do past experiences often impede your daily thoughts? Do you have flashbacks of traumatic experiences?
- Do you avoid people, places or socialising?
- Do you numb feelings with substances, behaviours, addictions or self-harm?
- Do you struggle to control your mood and emotions?
- Do you have persistent feelings of worthlessness and defeat, as well as extreme shame and guilt?
- Do you have difficulty forming and sustaining relationships, including within friendships, partnerships, families and the workplace?
- Do you struggle with addiction, depression or anxiety?
If you’re concerned your past or childhood may be impacting your ability to live a happy and rewarding life, you can use our self-assessment tool here to gain a better understanding of whether key indicators of PTSD or C-PTSD apply to your situation. To schedule a free, confidential, professional phone assessment, call our team seven days a week on 1800 063 332 or contact us here.
Leaders In Identifying And Treating Trauma
At South Pacific Private, our C-PTSD treatment program is structured around the work of Pia Mellody and the Model of Developmental Immaturity. We recognise that childhood trauma can often lie at the heart of substance abuse issues or other mental health concerns. With our tailored program and full team of clinical specialists, we aim to identify and resolve the drivers of addiction and set clients on the road to long-term recovery.
Your Journey To Recovery
At South Pacific Private, we take a comprehensive and holistic approach to the treatment of trauma-related conditions, recognising that they can often be the fundamental drivers of unhealthy addictions, behaviours and mental health issues.
As well as treating trauma and equipping clients with the tools and strategies to manage the symptoms and to repair impacted relationships, our programs aim to identify and address any additional issues which may have fuelled the development of — or exacerbated the severity of — the most problematic symptoms of PTSD.
If you’re ready to start addressing trauma, PTSD or C-PTSD, we’re ready to work with you every step of the way. Call us on 1800 063 332 or contact us here to see which of our programs are right for you.