What Causes C-PTSD?
C-PTSD often stems from childhood, however, it can develop from repeated traumatic events at any
point in life. Whether it occurs over months or years, traumatic stress directly impacts the brain,
memory, and how an individual reacts to stressful situations.
Most commonly, the person suffering from Complex PTSD will have a history of ongoing childhood
neglect or severe emotional, physical, and sexual abuse over time. Sadly, this commonly occurs from
abuse of a relative or guardian — someone who is supposed to love and care for you the most.
Other long-term events that could trigger the onset of C-PTSD include surviving human trafficking,
slavery, or being exposed to traumatic events while living in a country at war.
It’s still unclear why some people develop C-PTSD and others don’t. It seems that people who have a
history of underlying mental health issues and those who already have a poor response to stress are
more susceptible to developing it.
Since C-PTSD is relatively new in the medical community, receiving a diagnosis can be somewhat
difficult. You may need to meet with multiple doctors first, which can be frustrating, but
Don’t stop looking until you find someone you feel comfortable with and that you can trust with this
To start, it’s a good idea to keep a detailed log of your symptoms to present to your doctor. They’ll
begin by asking you questions about your symptoms, the traumatic events, and any possible risk
factors, such as a family history of mental illness.
If your doctor recognizes your symptoms have been going on for a month or more, you’ll likely receive
a PTSD diagnosis at first. A Complex PTSD diagnosis is more likely after a medical professional has
been monitoring you for some time.
Be sure to let them know if you’ve been having trouble controlling your emotions, explosive outbursts
or ongoing sadness, and struggling to keep healthy relationships.