Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: A New Type Of PTSD


Updated On: 

news 23 July feature

Mental Health News

A team of international researchers studied the longer-lasting sister disorder of PTSD called complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD). The study has been published in the journal The Lancet.

What Is Complex Post-traumatic Stress Disorder?

The study characterizes complex post-traumatic stress disorder (or complex PTSD/CPTSD) by “three core post-traumatic symptom clusters, along with chronic and pervasive disturbances in emotion regulation, identity, and relationships.”

Complex PTSD is usually caused by multiple trauma responses to negative developmental experiences related to childhood abuse, war, sexual abuse, torture, and domestic or community violence.

Symptoms Of Complex PTSD

The key features of CPTSD involve:

  • Self-organization disturbances
  • Excessive emotional response
  • Flashbacks
  • Nightmares
  • Avoidance
  • Social withdrawal
  • Hypervigilance
  • Depressive feelings
  • Difficulties in sustaining relationships

Prevalence Of Complex PTSD

Complex PTSD affects 1–8% of the global population and is particularly prevalent amongst children and adolescents.

Incorporation In Psychiatric Manuals

The researchers, drawn from the WHO and the University of Zurich, issued guidelines for the clinical assessment and treatment of complex PTSD in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11).

One of the lead researchers, Andreas Maercker, “We elaborate how the [diagnosis for post-traumatic stress disorder] can be made in routine situations in emergency medical facilities and in regions with underdeveloped health care systems.

To Know More You May Refer To

Maercker, A., Cloitre, M., Bachem, R., Schlumpf, Y. R., Khoury, B., Hitchcock, C., & Bohus, M. (2022). Complex post-traumatic stress disorder. Lancet (London, England)400(10345), 60–72. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(22)00821-2

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