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Understanding and Healing From Complex PTSD

Updated: Oct 30, 2022

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Complex PTSD

Understanding and Healing From Long-Term Trauma

Written by Randi Fine, Narcissistic Abuse Expert

Narcissistic Abuse Awareness and Guidance with Randi Fine

Complex post-traumatic stress disorder, also known as C-PTSD is a response to the chronic stress of social or interpersonal prolonged trauma. C-PTSD is differentiated from PTSD by the length of exposure, inability to escape the trauma, personal violation and exploitation, and fear of re-victimization.

For almost 25 years there has been great debate over whether or not complex PTSD is a separate and distinct disorder. That is not surprising. Over 35 years ago when PTSD was first classified as a diagnosable condition by the American Psychiatric Association, it was a controversial diagnosis as well. Now, according to an August 2015 report by the National Center for PTSD, approximately eight million adults are recognized as having it each year.

Though the American Psychiatric Association has published two Diagnostic and Statistical Manuals updates since 1980, they have not yet recognized complex PTSD as a distinct diagnosis. It was included as a PTSD subcategory in the most recently published manual.

Many mental health professionals disagree. They believe that C-PTSD is a stand-alone diagnosis and have established therapeutic models for treating patients who they believe have it.

In 2000, the Complex Trauma Task Force was assembled to promote a better und