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What Are C-PTSD & PTSD?

What Are C-PTSD & PTSD

Like all mental health disorders, dealing with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Complex PTSD (C-PTSD) can be challenging. These mental health disorders can take months or years of therapy to overcome, and in the meantime, they can cause significant impairment in daily life. Luckily, C-PTSD and PTSD can be managed with proper professional help.

Here at Elliant, our professional therapists can help you by providing you with the help you need. To help you better understand these mental health disorders, here is everything you should know about C-PTSD and PTSD. We will go over what they are, common symptoms, and effective treatments.

What is PTSD

PTSD stands for post-traumatic stress disorder, and it is a psychiatric disorder that typically happens after a traumatic event has occurred. For instance, those who have been in a natural disaster, car accident, or experienced rape, sexual violence, or domestic violence may have PTSD.

Those with PTSD tend to have many disturbing thoughts and feelings that reflect back on their experience. They may even regularly relive the experience and have traumatic nightmares or flashbacks. Certain events or words may also trigger a person’s PTSD, causing anxiety, distress, anger, or sadness.

What is C-PTSD

Complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) is similar to PTSD in that it also involves experiencing an emotional flashback, disturbing thoughts, and negative emotions. However, people with Complex PTSD have additional symptoms that make daily life more difficult. It is also believed that people with complex PTSD have experienced many repeated traumatic experiences rather than one traumatic experience. For instance, repeated sexual abuse, ongoing domestic violence, and kidnapping would be examples of C-PTSD.

C-PTSD is a relatively new term, and many health professionals have also been hesitant to classify it. Some argue that the additional symptoms are part of PTSD and should be called C-PTSD, while others believe it is something entirely different.

Symptoms of C-PTSD and PTSD

The significant difference between C-PTSD and PTSD lies in what symptoms are experienced. There are many overlapping symptoms, but complex PTSD tends to include more intense symptoms.


  • Lost of values 
  • Avoiding people 
  • Overwhelming feelings
  • Re-experiencing of trauma 
  • Anxiousness


Symptoms of C-PTSD include: 
  • Difficulty forming relationships 
  • Strong feelings of worthlessness 
  • Suicidal thoughts  
  • Difficulty regulating emotions

Treatments for Trauma & PTSD

Trauma & PTSD tend to be treated in two main ways; EMDR and CBT.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) – Therapists trained in EMDR can help those with PTSD by assisting them in reprocessing the event. The therapist leads the patient through eye movements that will help the brain process the memories.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: CBT is an important form of therapy that allows patients to transform their thoughts over time. For instance, those who tend to have negative thoughts or feelings are taught to redirect their emotions, so they are more positive and healthy.

Treatments for C-PTSD

Treatments for C-PTSD include all those used for standard PTSD but also have additional skill-building exercises. These skill-building exercises can improve self-image issues and help patients manage emotions. Patients with C-PTSD would also work on addressing feelings of low self-worth and guilt.

Trauma Therapists in Colorado

PTSD or C-PTSD can be very serious and have detrimental effects on your mental and physical health. If you or anyone you know may have some of these symptoms, it is essential to get professional psychiatric health immediately. Getting help early can prevent symptoms from worsening and even help improve your mental health.

Elliant Counseling Services brings you healing therapeutic guidance through tested methodologies that give you the courage to embrace change. Elliant has some of the top depression & anxiety therapists in Colorado. They also help with the effects of chemical addiction and provide couple & family therapy and treatment for trauma, PTSD, and C-PTSD. We can help you in your journey to recovery by conducting the best forms of treatment for each individual uniquely. Elliant offers both in-person and telehealth options.

Embrace the courage to change and contact Elliant Counseling Services at  720-883-1480 or visit our website to schedule a confidential consultation at today!