Is Healing From PTSD or CPTSD Really Possible?

People who suspect they have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or the more severe form, known as complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD), often want to know whether these disorders really can be successfully healed.

The irony is that most PTSD and CPTSD victims suffer from hyperarousal and what is known as the “freeze-fight-flight” syndrome. These symptoms stimulate them to be exceptionally wary and skeptical. The depression that often accompanies PTSD and CPTSD also causes significant negativity. In other words; they will be inclined to assume that it can not be healed.

Most CPTSD sufferers, after years of torment, are desperate for relief, but often procrastinate about treatment, or turn to alcohol and drugs to suppress their feelings. This is may be because they are ignorant about the true source of their anguish and have accepted it as unavoidable personal characteristics, or because they have acquired substance abuse disorder and fear the withdrawal symptoms.

While caution must be taken to ensure that PTSD or CPTSD is correctly diagnosed, it is wise not to blindly accept a sufferer’s negative responses to the potential of healing, as it will only reinforce their beliefs and cause more negativity. With no hope in sight, some of their symptoms may even worsen.

The logical approach to handling a suspected sufferer’s condition, is to intervene on their behalf by getting a referral to a suitably qualified mental health professional, with extensive experience of both PTSD and CPTSD, and to discuss the specific, personal circumstances of the sufferer before making a decision or coercing them into accepting treatment for it.

If it is found, after proper diagnosis, that a person is indeed affected by PTSD or CPTSD, then healing is, indeed, possible. Although healing CPTSD is a complicated process that requires extensive experience, reliable research has shown that specialist therapeutic treatment techniques can be effective.

How is PTSD and CPTSD treated?

There are specific diagnostic tests available to determine whether a person has PTSD or CPTSD, but it is preferable for the patient to be screened in person by a trained therapist, who will be able to take into account additional factors not discernable in precompiled questionnaires.

In many cases, the symptoms of PTSD, which are caused by a single incident, may fade after a while. In some short-term cases prescribed medication may be viable to tide the person over if they are not susceptible to psychotherapy. However, long-term PTSD invariably manifests as CPTSD and this usually requires more intensive treatment.

There are various forms of treatment available for CPTSD, ranging from holistic recipes to professional mental health techniques. The latter can be professionally administered in private consulting rooms, or in either residential or outpatient rehabilitation treatment centres. Of these, psychotherapeutic treatment in rehabilitation centres has been found to be the most effective.

Psychotherapists are professionally trained people who specialise in the healing of emotional and behaviour disorders with evidence-based psychological treatment techniques. In some cases medication may also be used. Treatment of CPTSD is a highly specialised process that requires a therapist with extensive experience and an individualised treatment plan for the patient.

The treatment program depends on the patient’s personal circumstances. Psychotherapy usually consists of a combination of several methods. Some popular techniques incorporated into these plans, are; cognitive therapy (CT), cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), prolonged exposure therapy (PE), and several others.

Some rehabilitation treatment centres devote a great deal of time to research, development and training to stay abreast of the latest advances in CPTSD treatment techniques – they usually apply more sophisticated, and more effective, methods.

How does PTSD and CPTSD differ?

PTSD is usually the result of a single emotionally destructive or terrifying incident that someone experiences, witnesses or hears about. PTSD may turn into CPTSD if the person suffers further traumatic incidents. Sometimes CPTSD can develop when a single event is exceptionally devastating. The ways victims respond to events vary, as not all people are the same. Some may emerge from an event with tolerable harm, while the same event may leave others in agony.

CPTSD is most commonly the result of developmental trauma that occurred during the person’s early life stages. It may be due to dysfunctional parental home settings, or neglect, abuse or exploitation by other primary caretakers and older persons. In later stages of life, it can be caused by exposure to extremely terrifying events, such as rape, assault, death, or long-term exposure to highly stressful conditions. Repetitive smaller incidents can also cause it. It may develop soon after an event, or at any later time, even years later.

Disclaimer: Media publications regarding health matters provide general information intended for broad public audiences. Individuals are required to consult a suitably qualified health professional for personal health advice.