When we talk about mental health, it’s necessary to understand everything in detail, including the differences. With that said, we will begin with the differences between trauma and complex trauma.
Trauma is an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, sexual or physical abuse, neglect, deprivation, injury, or a natural disaster. Immediately after the event, shock and denial are typical. It is followed by long-term reactions like unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, strained relationships, and even physical symptoms like headaches or nausea.
Complex trauma is exposure to varied and multiple traumatic events, often of an invasive, interpersonal nature. Note that both trauma and complex trauma are different. The way PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) follows trauma, CPTSD (Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) follows complex trauma. Not just that, but both trauma and complex trauma have slightly different symptoms and should be approached with exclusive therapies to solve them.
PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that may occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. Similarly, CPTSD is for people who have suffered from complex trauma. PTSD can be observed with anxiety, low mood, irritability, emotional ups-and-downs, wanting to be alone, and recurrent dreams or flashbacks, which can be intrusive.
In addition to the standard symptoms of PTSD, an individual with complex PTSD may also experience:
- A persistently negative self-view. People suffering are more likely to internalize that trauma was their fault and feel ashamed to discuss details. It is harder for them to identify their strengths based on a lack of positive core memories.
- Fixed negative worldview. Since they suffered through repeated trauma, such people are more likely to believe they have enough evidence that the world is a negative place.
- Detachment from trauma. It is not uncommon for a person to dissociate from their emotions and physical sensations. Some may lose the memory of the events or chunks of their lives to separate themselves from what happened and focus on survival.
- Preoccupation with people involved in the trauma. While one of the features of PTSD is a fixation on the event itself, people with complex trauma are more likely to focus on the people involved. They are more likely to be attached to their abusers, witnesses, or others who experienced the same thing by the same person.
Trauma care is a big issue that is more often neglected in developing countries like India. We often overlook it and ask people to shake it off. This might lead to undesirable results. Hence, we must know the symptoms and recognize and differentiate them to better understand each case and suggest the right solutions.
The cumulative economic and social burden of complex trauma in childhood is alarmingly high. Now, these reports are older before the Internet expanded crazily. Imagine the numbers for complex trauma now and compare the trauma care we provide for people around us. It’s high time we take responsibility and care for such issues in India too. Normalize talking to people, hearing out their concerns, telling them that they want to be heard. Suggest them medical counseling if needed while making sure they never feel embarrassed seeking counseling.
Catering to all of that, we must understand complex trauma in a better way and provide the trauma care each individual requires accordingly. It doesn’t need to be classified in a predefined persona. Instead, it should be treated individually. If you don’t find all of it making sense or need more clear answers for yourself or people you care for, Visit Regency Healthcare and get the answers you seek. Consult with our experts and get the solutions you’re looking for.