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What is the difference between PTSD and CPTSD?

Complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD) may follow long-term trauma, such as prolonged abuse, and it shares several similarities with PTSD and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). It is frequently treated with psychotherapy, or talk therapy, and medication.

The key distinctions between CPTSD and PTSD revolve around the duration of traumatic events and the accompanying symptoms. Originally associated with short-term trauma, PTSD was thought to manifest differently from CPTSD. However, it's now recognized that survivors of long-term trauma often experience additional symptoms beyond anxiety, flashbacks, avoidance, and heightened emotional responses. CPTSD introduces unique challenges like difficulties in maintaining stable relationships, emotional regulation, and forming a coherent sense of self.

In regards to CPTSD and BPD, both conditions may include impulsivity, feelings of worthlessness, and difficulty maintaining stable and lasting relationships. The main difference between the two is that CPTSD has to be caused by long-term trauma, while BPD does not have to be caused by trauma, although it is frequently associated with childhood trauma. Also, people usually develop BPD by early adulthood, but CPTSD may develop at any age.

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