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The Difficult Road to Intimacy: Living with Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder


October 29, 2020

**Trigger Warning ***

The following material has been reported to be highly triggering to some.

Living with complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD) is very challenging. It affects every aspect of the lives of those who suffer under its symptoms. In this article, we are going to examine together with a brief synopsis of CPTSD and how this disorder creates difficulty in forming and maintaining intimate relationships.

An Overview of Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

CPTSD isn’t yet in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), the Bible used by psychiatrists and psychologists to diagnose mental health issues. Instead, it is part of a category called Trauma and Stress-Related Disorders under post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The problem is that while PTSD generally involves a single traumatic event, complex post-traumatic stress disorder involves exposure to repeated traumatic events. One argument is the reason for the exclusion of CPTSD from the DSM-5 is that while PTSD affects 7-8% of adults, CPTSD occurs in .05% of adults.

The symptoms of complex post-traumatic stress disorder are broader than those of PTSD. In the following sections, we’ll examine these deeper problems and how they affect a survivor’s ability to form and maintain healthy intimate relationships.

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