Complex PTSD

NHS

You may have complex post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) if you have some of the symptoms of PTSD, and also have problems with managing your emotions and having relationships.

Symptoms of complex PTSD

The symptoms of complex PTSD are similar to symptoms of PTSD, but may also include:

  • feelings of worthlessness, shame and guilt
  • problems controlling your emotions
  • finding it hard to feel connected with other people
  • relationship problems, like having trouble keeping friends and partners

Causes of complex PTSD

Complex PTSD may be caused by experiencing recurring or long-term traumatic events, for example:

  • childhood abuse or neglect
  • domestic violence
  • sexual abuse
  • torture, sex trafficking, or slavery
  • war

You may also be more likely to develop complex PTSD if:

  • you experienced trauma at a young age
  • you were harmed by someone close to you who you trusted
  • you were unable to escape the trauma

Treating complex PTSD

If you have complex PTSD, you may be offered therapies used to treat PTSD, such as trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR).

You'll also be offered treatment for other problems you may have, such as depression or alcohol addiction. You should be offered ongoing support after your treatment ends.

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Helplines & Web Chats

Samaritans
Action Mental Health
Association for Post-Natal Illness Helpline
Aware NI - Support Groups
Aware NI - Online Support Groups
Mind - Side by Side Online Community