A person with complex PTSD may experience symptoms in addition to those that characterize PTSD.
Common symptoms of PTSD and Complex Trauma include:
- reliving the trauma through flashbacks and nightmares
- avoiding situations that remind them of the trauma
- dizziness or nausea when remembering the trauma
- hyperarousal, which means being in a continual state of high alert
- the belief that the world is a dangerous place
- a loss of trust in the self or others
- difficulty sleeping or concentrating
- being startled by loud noises
People with PTSD or Complex Trauma may also experience:
- A negative self-view. Complex PTSD can cause a person to view themselves negatively and feel helpless, guilty, or ashamed. They often consider themselves to be different from other people.
- Changes in beliefs and worldview. People with either condition may hold a negative view of the world and the people in it or lose faith in previously held beliefs.
- Emotional regulation difficulties. These conditions can cause people to lose control over their emotions. They may experience intense anger or sadness or have thoughts of suicide.
- Relationship issues. Relationships may suffer due to difficulties trusting and interacting, and because of a negative self-view. A person with either condition may develop unhealthy relationships because they are what the person has known in the past.
- Detachment from the trauma. A person may dissociate, which means feeling detached from emotions or physical sensations. Some people completely forget the trauma.
- Preoccupation with an abuser. It is not uncommon to fixate on the abuser, the relationship with the abuser, or getting revenge for the abuse.