PTSD & Complex Trauma
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can develop after an individual experiences or witnesses a life-threatening event such as sexual assault, physical threats to well-being, death, accidents, natural disasters, or other highly stressful events. Individuals experiencing PTSD report “re-experiencing” the event after it has occurred through nightmares and/or unwanted memories or images while they are awake, resulting in persistent anxiety and emotional dysfunction. Individuals with PTSD also often experience difficulties with sleep and concentration, increased startle response, feeling the need to be on guard and alert at all times, and persistent negative thoughts about themselves and others (e.g., “the world is dangerous,” “it’s my fault,” “others cannot be trusted”). These symptoms often lead individuals with PTSD to avoid activities they used to enjoy as a method of avoiding trauma memories and triggers, and this can result in feelings of being cut-off or detached from others. PTSD can cause problems with functioning in school, work, and relationships.