Signs of Complex Trauma – Pt. 2

In a previous post, we outlined a few signs of complex trauma and chronic post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD). The warning signs of complex trauma are as extensive as the events that can cause it. No one sign is an indication of having CPTSD, but if you relate with several, it may be worth taking a closer look at your past experiences to examine how they’re impacting you now. Here are a few more signs of complex trauma:

You Have Both Depression and Anxiety
Depression and anxiety may seem to be polar opposites on the surface, but they often have the same root cause: trauma. The greater the number of adverse childhood experiences you had, the greater your chances of having depression and/or anxiety, even decades later. Experiencing household dysfunction or abuse during early childhood has a lasting impact on brain function and overall wellness. It is possible to have depression or anxiety as an adult without having an extensive trauma history, but if you are experiencing symptoms of both, working with a trauma-informed or trauma-focused professional may lead to clarity on the roots of these conditions.

You Are Unsure What Triggers Your Symptoms

People with PTSD often know exactly what their triggers are, such as loud noises or car rides. Often, there is a clear link between their traumatic experiences and their triggers. With CPTSD, triggers are often much more difficult to identify. There may be no clear cause of sudden symptoms, or a suspected cause may seem insignificant, like a person’s tone of voice. It can be hard to understand why you feel upset and are reacting a certain way. Trauma is stored in the body as much as it is stored in the brain. Even if your mind cannot make sense of it, your body is reacting to a perceived threat it learned from a past experience despite not knowing the exact cause.

You Have Trouble Recalling Memories

A normal reaction to trauma is to dissociate. Dissociation is any disconnect from your experience–whether thoughts, feelings, sensations, the world around you, etc. Being unable to recall specific details around a traumatic event is normal. Your brain dissociates to protect you from being too overwhelmed. However, if you are unable to recall large periods of time in your past, significant life events, or most of a traumatic event, it may be more than a typical amount of dissociation and indicative of complex trauma. 

This list and the previous one are not the only warning signs of having complex trauma or CPTSD. If you recognize several of these signs in yourself, it may be worth it to work with a professional counselor who specializes in trauma. You can continue to cope with or manage your symptoms, or you can work on addressing the events that are contributing to them. Better yet, you can do both! Reach out to us today to schedule an intake with one of our trauma specialists.

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