Post-traumatic stress disorder (sometimes just called ‘PTSD’) is a type of anxiety disorder that can appear after a traumatic event.

What can I do about it?

There are many different treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder including:

    • Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT): A therapist can help teach you better ways to cope with your anxiety and work with you to help you change your harmful thoughts, feelings and behaviours. CBT can be done one on one or in a group.
    • Support groups: Many people with post-traumatic stress disorder find anxiety support groups helpful. They can help you realize that you’re not alone and what you are going through is very understandable.
  • Medications: Certain types of anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medications can be helpful in managing some of the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder or helping prevent relapses.

Complex Trauma refers to exposure to traumatic events in childhood and adolescence that are unresolved, multiple and often occurring within the person’s closest attachment relationships. Complex Developmental Trauma interferes with brain development and function. The difficulty for these clients in mental health settings, especially inpatient and psychiatric settings, is that the complexity of their daily life was not fully understood. The reason is that traditional approaches to PTSD focus almost exclusively on reducing a person’s reactivity, intrusive thoughts and avoidance (hyperarousal). Patients with Complex Developmental Trauma impacts are likely to feel like failures in these treatment settings because these interventions do not address the full range of their symptoms.
The more complex reactions to trauma seen in Complex Developmental Trauma of hyperarousal and hypoarousal (dissociation) vary more widely, change considerably over the treatment period, are more difficult to treat and require practitioners with specialist understanding and knowledge.

The bottom line, according to experts like Bessel van der Kolk, is that talk therapy alone often isn’t enough to treat complex trauma, which requires a range of body-mind interventions like EMDR, neurofeedback and other interventions.