Understanding the Difference Between Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to Better Inform Healing Approaches
Bale, Aslaug Abigail Magdalena Son
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This dissertation investigated the validity of Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD) as a separate diagnosis to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) specifically in the case of childhood interpersonal trauma. The current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-5) does not recognise CPTSD as a separate diagnosis to PTSD and the limitation to this exclusion is examined in this review. Specifically, this dissertation investigates the impact of exposure to early childhood interpersonal trauma in the context of deficiencies in the stress response systems, cognitive control, emotion regulation, and dissociation. Childhood trauma is shown to interrupt delicate neurosequential brain development, leading to developmental deficits in the neurobiology. Early adverse experiences are also regarded as the most dependable risk factor of adult psychopathology where the long-term impacts of adverse childhood experiences are closely linked to mental health and physical problems in adulthood. A traditional critical literature review was used to investigate the differences between CPTSD and PSTD and to explore the impacts of current practices. Current research supports the validity of the CPTSD diagnosis, where individuals who experienced adverse childhood experiences showed greater impairments compared to those with PTSD. This review includes 142 articles, books, reports and other pieces of literature, to gather current and seminal information about the topic. The limitations of PTSD interventions currently used on those with CPTSD have been analysed, where findings show that current PTSD treatments are not effective for addressing the extra interpersonal and emotion control issues seen in those with CPTSD. Working with complex trauma necessitates addressing the symptomology of CPTSD, which requires different approach methods to assist symptom reduction to facilitate recovery. Therefore, it is important to consider a CPTSD diagnosis to effectively evaluate and determine broader treatment interventions for adult survivors of childhood trauma.