Trauma- and Stress Related Disorders (Complex Trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD))

Stress-related disorders can include mental health disorders that are a result of an atypical response to both short and long-term anxiety due to physical, mental, or emotional stress. These disorders can include, but are not limited to obsessive-compulsive disorder, PTSD, acute stress disorder, and adjustment disorder.

Specific Practice Area of Trauma Focus:

Complex Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Complex Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, is the result of multiple traumatic events which have occurred over a period of time, often referred to as "complex trauma."  Causes include multiple incidents of child abuse, particularly child physical abuse and child sexual abuse, prolonged domestic violence, concentration camp experiences, torture, slavery, and genocide campaigns.  Complex post-traumatic stress disorder (Complex PTSD) is a disorder that may develop following exposure to an event or series of events of an extreme and prolonged or repetitive nature that is experienced as extremely threatening or horrific and from which escape is difficult or impossible (e.g., torture, slavery, genocide campaigns, prolonged domestic violence, repeated childhood sexual or physical abuse).      

    The disorder is characterized by the core symptoms of PTSD; that is, all diagnostic requirements for PTSD have been met at some point during the course of the disorder. In addition, complex PTSD is characterized by the following:

  • Severe and pervasive problems in affect regulation; 
  • Persistent beliefs about oneself as diminished, defeated or worthless, accompanied by deep and pervasive feelings of shame, guilt or failure related to the stressor; and 
  • Persistent difficulties in sustaining relationships and in feeling close to others. The disturbance causes significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning." Read more:                                                                                    

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

      When an individual experiences the stress that results from traumatic events it can subsequently lead to a  spectrum of psycho-emotional and physiopathological outcomes which are symptomatic of a diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder that results from the experience or witnessing of traumatic or life-threatening events. PTSD has profound psychobiological correlates, which can impair the person's daily life and be life threatening.  Symptoms of PTSD are described below: