Children, Long-Term Trauma and C-PTSD (Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)
Most of us have heard of PTSD, but few have heard of C-PTSD. What is the difference? While PTSD is the result of a short-lived event, C-PTSD is the result of prolonged trauma, such as ongoing abuse, trafficking, imprisonment and more. Formally recognized by the World Health Organization, C-PTSD has its strongest effect on children who have grown up in traumatic environments, victimized by violence and neglect.
The concern of many experts and healthcare providers is the effect this long-term trauma can have upon childhood development. Development can easily be stagnated by severe anxiety to the extent that developmental milestones can be altogether missed. Years of hypervigilance and emotional dysregulation can lead the brain to negatively “wire” over time in a way that reinforces anxiety, depression, addiction, and other disorders. Years of traumatic stress can also lead to severe digestive, hormonal, immunological and neurotransmitter dysregulation, as well as musculoskeletal pain, headaches and sleeplessness. The result of long-term trauma is a combination of both emotional and physical challenges to recovery that reinforce one another.
Neither the emotional nor the physical can be neglected, making an integrated team approach to healing far more essential. Include in your recovery team clinical experts in counseling, as well as the neurological and other physiological impairments.