Complex PTSD (CPTSD)

Sad woman on the couch

Hannah’s House: A Complex PTSD Treatment Center

Do you sometimes feel your emotions run rampant and affect your physical health and well-being? Are you more prone to headaches or stomach upset around specific individuals or situations? Or do you often feel anxious and uneasy for no apparent reason?

While you may have heard of trauma and post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD), you may not be as familiar with other terms like “complex trauma” or “complex post-traumatic stress disorder.” These conditions may also be called Complex PTSD, CPTSD, or C-PTSD. So, what is CPTSD?

What Is Complex PTSD?

Complex PTSD is a mental health disorder that can develop when a person experiences chronic or repeated trauma, like child abuse or domestic violence.

While Complex PTSD symptoms affect all individuals regardless of age or gender, women are particularly at risk. That’s why the Complex PTSD treatment center at Hannah’s House was created for women, by women. Our therapists are experts at treating CPTSD.

While average amounts of stress are something your body needs daily, unchecked stress can cause several health issues. Your adrenal glands kick into gear and produce cortisol whenever you are in a threatening situation. This hormonal response is normal; the cortisol release triggers the cells in your liver, fat, and muscle tissues to release the energy your body needs to get through the threatening situation.

This regular release of cortisol is known as “fight or flight mode,” and it traces back to when humans needed to stay alert for survival. But in modern times, with Complex PTSD, the limbic system gets flooded with stress hormones and instead stays stuck in fight, flight, or freeze mode.

We constantly feel on edge because the emotional trauma gets physically stuck in our bodies. It’s very common to have this sensation happen with little warning, leaving us confused about why we are anxious for no apparent reason.

Complex PTSD profoundly impacts your health. With complex PTSD, your difficult memories feel like they are happening to you over and over in the present moment.

This complex trauma is not related to a single accident like rape, violent physical abuse, or a car accident but rather a series of traumas over a long time. Sometimes the experiences have taken place for months or years. Though it generally traces back to childhood, CPTSD can develop from an adult traumatic onset episode or recurrent stressors.

What Are the 17 Symptoms of Complex PTSD?

It can be extremely difficult to embrace life’s experiences or perform daily tasks when you’re living with Complex PTSD. In addition to feeling anxious most of the time, if you are a woman experiencing CPTSD, you may have work and family obligations, leading to little time for yourself. CPTSD symptoms may include:

  1. Autoimmune conditions
  2. Avoidance of certain circumstances/places
  3. Challenged interpersonal relationships
  4. Chronic health conditions
  5. Depersonalization or derealization
  6. Distorted sense of self
  7. Flashbacks
  8. Hyperarousal
  9. Inability to control your emotions
  10. Low self-esteem
  11. Memory lapses
  12. Negative self-perception and suicidal thoughts
  13. Nightmares
  14. Sleep disturbances
  15. Substance use
  16. Unexplained headaches
  17. Unexplained upset stomach

Complex PTSD Causes

  • Chronic neglect or abandonment
  • Enmeshment or engulfment trauma
  • Genocide campaigns
  • Human trafficking
  • Incest
  • Living in a war zone or area of civil unrest
  • Medical abuse or medical trauma
  • Ongoing emotional abuse
  • Ongoing physical abuse
  • Parentification (children taking on adult rules)
  • Sexual abuse
  • Torture or being held captive

Understanding How to Treat Complex PTSD

At Hannah’s House, we assess your unique situation and provide a unique mix of Complex PTSD treatment options to help you heal. They include

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)
  • Controlled breathing exercise
  • Mindfulness practices like journaling
  • Body-centered therapies
  • Focus on adequate exercise, sleep, and nutrition
  • Progressive muscular relaxation

Frequently Asked Questions About Complex PTSD

What Should I Not Say to Someone Living With Complex PTSD?

You should never invalidate or dismiss their experiences or compare them to your own. Instead, it’s crucial to listen with empathy and help them find healing with a highly qualified therapist.

What Is the Best Medication for Complex PTSD?

Many women may not need medication. At Hannah’s House by Origins, our evidence-based therapies have shown excellent promise in helping women heal from the physical and emotional effects of CPTSD.


What Is My Complex PTSD Life Expectancy?

CPTSD is a lifelong condition. However, it is possible to live a longer, healthier, and happier life when you learn to manage symptoms with professional Complex PTSD treatment.

Do I Have Complex PTSD?

Anyone with unresolved trauma can receive a CPTSD diagnosis. Many women suffer needlessly, and in silence, from Complex PTSD triggers. Please read the list of signs and symptoms above and contact us if you notice similarities. You are not alone. We can help.

Is Complex PTSD a Disability?

Complex PTSD is treatable. As a mental health disorder, it often co-occurs with alcohol or substance use disorders.

How Long Does Complex PTSD Last?

Some individuals experience CPTSD symptoms for months or years without intervention or therapy. The sooner you get help, the better your chances for recovery. Don’t suffer alone.

Women Can and Do Recover

If you have a CPTSD diagnosis, it’s crucial to discover what treatment works best for you. Hannah’s House by Origins is an expert in treating Complex PTSD. Our caring staff understands the extra pressures women face and will remind you that you are not alone.

Start your journey to freedom by calling the Hannah’s House team at 561.841.1272.