Complex PTSD (CPTSD)

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What Is Complex PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)?

While you may have heard of trauma and post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD), you may wonder, “What is CPTSD, and how is it different from PTSD?”

You may not be as familiar with the terms “complex trauma” or “complex post-traumatic stress disorder.” These conditions may also be called complex PTSD, CPTSD, or C-PTSD.

Hanley Center is a CPTSD treatment center offering the latest, evidence-based, age- and gender-specific treatment options for anyone experiencing CPTSD. We understand this complex condition and offer hope. Our offerings include a premier Residential Mental Health facility, as well as treatment for complex PTSD in patients with co-occurring substance use disorders.

What happens with CPTSD is that your limbic system gets flooded with stress hormones. As a result, it stays stuck in fight, flight or freeze mode.

With CPTSD, you constantly feel on edge. Nothing seems to help. The emotional trauma gets physically stuck in your body. Professional care is needed.

Complex-post traumatic stress disorder profoundly impacts the health of our nervous systems because our difficult memories feel like they are happening to us in the present moment. Over and over, our bodies relive the trauma from decades prior. This type of complex trauma is not related to a single accident like an attack or car accident but rather a series of traumas over a long time.

This is why age- and gender-specific treatment is critical. For people with mental health disorders without co-occurring substance use, we also provide a community of like-minded individuals through our sophisticated Residential Mental Health Program, offering individualized therapies for complex PTSD treatment.

Sometimes, with CPTSD, the experiences have taken place over months or years. Though it generally starts in childhood, CPTSD can develop from an adult traumatic onset episode or recurrent stressors.

At Hanley Center, we meet you right where you are in your challenges and recovery.

Group room at Hanley Center Residential Mental Health Program

What Causes Complex PTSD?

CPTSD causes may include:

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

What Are the 17 Symptoms of Complex PTSD?

Living with complex PTSD can be difficult. In addition to feeling anxious most of the time, if you are experiencing CPTSD, you may have the following CPTSD symptoms and signs:

  • Flashbacks.
  • Memory lapses.
  • Distorted sense of self.
  • Inability to control your emotions.
  • Hyperarousal.
  • Unexplained upset stomach.
  • Sleep disturbances.
  • Challenged interpersonal relationships.
  • Avoidance of certain circumstances/places.
  • Substance use.
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Chronic health conditions.
  • Avoidance of certain circumstances/places.
  • Depersonalization or derealization.
  • Negative self-perception and thoughts of suicide.
  • Unexplained headaches.
  • Autoimmune conditions.

How to Treat CPTSD

Learn about complex PTSD treatment at Hanley Center, one of the top addiction treatment centers in West Palm Beach.

  • On-site medical and detox services.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR).
  • Experiential therapies.
  • Identifying and treating all co-occurring conditions.
  • Body-centered therapies.
  • Leading-edge neurological interventions.
  • Our Center for Brain Recovery.
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT).
  • Twelve-step immersion practices.
  • Controlled breathing.
  • Mindfulness practices like journaling.
  • Focus on healthy sleep, nutrition, and proper exercise.
  • Progressive muscular relaxation.
  • Acupuncture and massage, upon request.

When healing from complex PTSD, it’s crucial to discover what works best for you. At Hanley Center, we are a CPTSD inpatient treatment center, and our therapists will remind you that you are not alone.

Frequently Asked Questions About CPTSD

What Is My Complex PTSD Life Expectancy?

It is possible to live a long and healthy life once you get help for your CPTSD. In-depth continuing care planning begins at Hanley Center on day one. You are not alone.

Do I Have Complex PTSD?

Anyone who has experienced prolonged or repeated trauma can receive a complex PTSD diagnosis. Many people suffer from CPTSD triggers for years — needlessly. Please review the list of signs and symptoms above and reach out if you notice similarities. There is always hope.

Is Complex PTSD a Disability?

CPTSD is a treatable mental health disorder. CPTSD often co-occurs with alcohol or substance use disorders. At Hanley Center, our age and gender-specific approach to healing is comprehensive and personalized. We meet you where you are.

What Should I Not Say to Someone With Complex PTSD?

Don’t tell them to “just get over it” or that they are “making a big deal out of nothing.” Instead, listen with empathy and help them find an experienced therapist.

What Is the Best Medication for Complex PTSD?

You may not need medication for your CPTSD. Evidence-based therapies, like those we use at Hanley Center, have shown excellent promise in helping people heal. Our Center for Brain Recovery clinical team has the tools you need to thrive and experience a lifetime of recovery.

How Long Does CPTSD Last?

The length varies, with some individuals living with complex PTSD symptoms for months or years without intervention or therapy.


Contact Hanley Center

Hanley Center helps patients achieve lifelong recovery. Our complex PTSD treatment centers in Florida use evidence-based therapies that restore mental, physical, and spiritual health. Our team provides practical, leading-edge care that enacts real, lasting change.

Things will get better, and we can help. Call the Hanley Center team at 561.841.1033 to start your journey to freedom and fulfillment.

Hanley Center: Most Insurance Accepted

Address: 933 45th Street
West Palm Beach, FL 33407