Both PTSD and C-PTSD result from the experience of something deeply traumatic and can cause flashbacks, nightmares, and insomnia. Both conditions can also make you feel intensely afraid and unsafe even though the danger has passed. However, despite can ptsd cause blackouts these similarities, there are characteristics that differentiate C-PTSD from PTSD according to some experts. Ivy Kwong, LMFT, is a psychotherapist specializing in relationships, love and intimacy, trauma and codependency, and AAPI mental health.

complex ptsd blackouts

However, the majority of people exposed to trauma do not develop long-term post-traumatic stress disorder. Complex PTSD has gained attention in the years since it was first described in the late 1980s. Exposure to a traumatic experience can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), an incapacitating disorder in susceptible persons with no reliable therapy. Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms may start within one month of a traumatic event, but sometimes symptoms may not appear until years after the event.

Depression in Children

Since DNMT3A increases DNA methylation, the researchers used a natural product that donates methyl groups S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) and to activate the retinoic acid receptor they treated the animals with vitamin A. They found that combined treatment with the methyl donor SAM and retinoic acid reversed PTSD-like behaviors. Studies in humans have suggested that perhaps the initial trauma exposure results in “epigenetic alterations” that in turn mediate and embed the PTSD disorder.

  • Data analysis revealed overall hypomethylation of different genomic CG sites in susceptible animals.
  • Most often this happens subtly but the changes are distinctly observable.
  • It is characterized by intrusive and distressing memories or dreams, dissociative reactions, and substantial psychological or physiological distress related to the event.
  • When the underlying trauma is repeated and ongoing, however, some mental health professionals make a distinction between PTSD and its more intense sibling, complex PTSD (C-PTSD).

The main difference between the two disorders is the frequency of the trauma. While PTSD is caused by a single traumatic event, C-PTSD is caused by long-lasting trauma that continues or repeats for months, even years (commonly referred to as “complex trauma”). Complex PTSD, on the other hand, is related to a series of traumatic events over time or one prolonged event. The symptoms of complex PTSD can be similar but more enduring and extreme than those of PTSD. Before you can understand how to control PTSD blackouts, you need to understand what’s causing them in the first place. You experienced a traumatic event that your brain has not fully processed.

Complex PTSD – Post-traumatic stress disorder

Terms such as dissociative identity, “dissociative fugue,” or “depersonalization” sound opaque, even intimidating. This can make it difficult for those experiencing dissociation to understand what they are going through and seek appropriate help. The goal of PE is to reduce avoidance of traumatic memories and assist the person in having less severe reactions to memories and triggers of the trauma. Research shows that people with PTSD and complex PTSD may need personalized treatment. A doctor will need to look at the specific person’s history of trauma to develop the best course of treatment. People with complex PTSD may experience difficulties with relationships.

  • It might seem as though the things you witness are happening in a movie, far away from you.
  • You may have more PTSD symptoms when you’re stressed in general, or when you come across reminders of what you went through.
  • The DSM-5 does list a sub-type of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) called dissociative PTSD that seems to encompass CPTSD symptoms.
  • CPTSD stems from trauma that occurs as a result of repeated or ongoing traumatic experiences, usually over the course of several months or years.
  • Getting effective treatment after PTSD symptoms develop can be critical to reduce symptoms and improve function.
  • Social inequities in the U.S. mean that people from historically marginalized groups can experience more ACEs.

A diagnosis of PTSD requires evidence of exposure to trauma, and is characterized by intrusive and dissociative symptoms. Getting treatment as soon as possible can help prevent PTSD symptoms from getting worse. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it.