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  • Writer's pictureAngela

On PTSD, Complex PTSD, and Developmental PTSD

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur following the experience or witnessing of a traumatic event. Some refer to this as "shock trauma", as it's typically a one-time event that causes the symptoms. PTSD sufferers often relive the experience through flashbacks, and nightmares, and may experience anxiety and panic related to being reminded of the event. For the official definition of PTSD, please click here.


Developmental trauma is based on repeated experiences of abuse or neglect from parents or caregivers in childhood. It is therefore considered relational trauma. Complex PTSD (C-PTSD) includes relational trauma from both childhood and adulthood (think of this as an umbrella for which developmental trauma falls under). In C-PTSD, PTSD symptoms occur as well as interpersonal disturbances, negative self-concept, and affect dysregulation. Please see the following graphic for a look at the difference.


list of core symptoms of PTSD and additional symptoms of C-PTSD, to include negative self concept, emotional dysregulation,  and interpersonal difficulties
Graphic of C-PTSD Symptoms (Credit to Psych Scence)

For further information on C-PTSD, please click on this link.

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