Support Forums Today's Posts Chat Room

Get Advice Connect with TeenHelp Resources
HelpLINK Facebook     Twitter     Tumblr     Instagram    Hotlines    Safety Zone    Alternatives

You are not registered or have not logged in

Hello guest! (Not a guest? Log in above!)

As a guest on TeenHelp you are only able to use some of our site's features. By registering an account you will be able to enjoy unlimited access to our site, and will be able to:

  • Connect with thousands of teenagers worldwide by actively taking part in our Support Forums and Chat Room.
  • Find others with similar interests in our Social Groups.
  • Express yourself through our Blogs, Picture Albums and User Profiles.
  • And much much more!

Signing up is free, anonymous and will only take a few moments, so click here to register now!

Article Tools Search this Article Rate Article
by TeenHelp May 5th 2016, 09:19 PM

By Cassie (Cassado)

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is a mental health condition that develops from witnessing or experiencing a dangerous or life threatening event. PTSD can occur quickly after an event, or it can take a few months to appear but it almost always develops six months after the traumatizing event. It can be caused by abuse, car accidents, natural disasters, military duties, sudden loss and grieving, or anything that can be traumatic to someone. A lot of health professionals or paramedics also develop PTSD from seeing people in bad conditions.

PTSD and CPTSD, also known as complex post traumatic stress disorder, have their similarities and differences. A lot of the symptoms are the similar but the causes, development, and impact they have are different. PTSD is caused by one or more traumas, but CPTSD is caused by complex trauma. Complex trauma is trauma that is often more deep-rooted; complex trauma in itself can produce other major symptoms or disorders, such as dissociative disorders or personality disorders. Even if someone who has experienced trauma does not entirely fit the criteria for a personality or dissociative disorder, they may have strong traits. Additionally, CPTSD is strongly related to prolonged and repetitive trauma in which there is no escape and is often seen in victims of child abuse, kidnappings, or concentration camps. While prolonged abuse is a factor, children do not always develop CPTSD until later in life. Trauma in children is sometimes known as developmental trauma, and that can manifest in Developmental Trauma Disorder (DTD). DTD impacts the child's physical, mental, and emotional development. It makes it hard for the child to communicate and it can influence the onset of other disorders such as Fibromyalgia and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. DTD can turn into CPTSD in adulthood and the trauma continues to affect people for their lifetime.

The four types of symptoms for PTSD are reliving, avoiding, emotional numbness, and heightened arousal. People often relive the event through flashbacks and nightmares. Flashbacks can occur with any of the five senses: seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, or feeling. They can occur with a select few senses or all of them at once. A person who has experienced a house fire might hear screaming, smell smoke, or feel the heat of the fire. Reliving can also include dissociative periods and the avoidance of any reminders of the event. Someone might not want to have a campfire or toast marshmallows and they might have trouble remembering the details of the house fire. They also might distract themselves too much, to the point of being unable to process the house fire or being unable to seek professional help. Someone struggling with the emotional numbness from a house fire might break off any relationships with other people involved or they might resort to self-harm to allow themselves to feel something. Heightened arousal could cause someone to obsessively check the batteries in a fire detector, or check to make sure their stove is turned off.

While people with CPTSD experience some of the same symptoms as those with PTSD, they also experience symptoms that are more constant and specific to complex trauma. Typical PTSD symptoms that are also seen in CPTSD are often more intrusive and severe. Someone who has CPTSD could have greater difficulty with memory as well as the ability to learn and concentrate. Those living with CPTSD may also struggle a lot when they have coexisting conditions, such as a chronic pain condition or a personality disorder in addition to the CPTSD. Lastly, even though CPTSD is manageable, it is thought by some professionals that it could be more lifelong than PTSD. Note that both have the potential to be lifelong, however.

Children with DTD or (C)PTSD may regress back to old behaviors. They can have trouble sleeping, using the bathroom, or have difficulty with independent tasks. They often develop separation anxiety and other intense fears. Children also have a tendency to act out their experiences through play. This can be seen in story telling, playing pretend, or their drawings. Teenagers with (C)PTSD have symptoms similar to the ones adults experience.

It is recommended for people to process through their trauma with a professional, but that is not always an option. Regardless of whether or not professional help is an option, there are several things someone can do if they think they're suffering from (C)PTSD.

Create a support system
It can be tempting for people to try to work through the trauma on their own, but that is very hard to do. Part of healing is learning to form a healthy dependence on other people. It is too challenging and unhealthy to work through trauma alone. People should write a list of contact information so they can reach out for support when they need it. This can include people they are close to, or hotlines.

Find some outlets
Keeping feelings locked inside is extremely unhealthy. Feelings that remain unexpressed bubble up until they explode, much like the bubbles in boiling water. If nothing else is done, people should talk about their experiences and the feelings surrounding them. This is the first step in recovery because it allows people to acknowledge their trauma as real. If people are uncomfortable talking about it, they may benefit from keeping a journal or a blog. They also might find expressing themselves creatively through poetry or drawing to be helpful.

Create a safe place
People should consider creating a place where they feel safe to express themselves and reflect on things. A small corner of their home or their bedroom can be a suitable safe place. They should bring things that make them feel safe, such as a blanket, a nightlight, and other positive objects. Learn more about creating a safe place here.

Find ways to cope with flashbacks
Flashbacks can be hard to deal with and it can be helpful to know how to cope with them. Some people benefit when they think of their flashback as a movie on a screen and they allow themselves to change the volume, fast forward, pause, or stop the movie. Other people use comforting items to remind themselves that they are safe. A smell flashback can be eased with something else to smell, such as perfume or freshly baked cookies. Taste flashbacks can be worked through with something else to taste, such as something peppermint or cinnamon flavored. Flashbacks with the sense of feel, or body memories, can fade away with hot or cool showers, Icy Hot cream or similar brands, and heating or cooling pads to provide a different sensation. Different sounds can help drown out audible flashbacks.

Use grounding techniques
Grounding techniques are vital during dissociative periods. People sometimes ground themselves by keeping a conversation because that takes effort which requires them to be in the present. Things can be used to stimulate the five senses: a worry stone or a fabric for feeling, something shiny or bright for eyesight, perfume for smelling, music for hearing, and food for tasting. For people struggling to stay present, it is suggested to read a book or watch a TV show as those are safe things to get lost in.

Suggested readings
The common misconceptions of PTSD

Dissociation and You: Making a Grounding Kit

Last edited by TeenHelp; October 29th 2017 at 09:14 PM.
Reply With Quote
Views 543 Comments 0
Total Comments 0




cptsd, ptsd

Article Tools Search this Article
Search this Article:

Advanced Search
Rate this Article
Rate this Article:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

All material copyright 1998-2021, TeenHelp.
Terms | Legal | Privacy | Conduct | Complaints | Mobile

Powered by vBulletin®.
Copyright ©2000-2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search engine optimization by vBSEO.
Theme developed in association with vBStyles.