Information about Other Symptoms/Comorbidities

Started by Kizzie, May 07, 2015, 06:38:47 PM

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This sub-forum or "child board" is for the discussion of physical and/or psychological issues and comorbidities relating which (you think) are related to your CPTSD. Just to clarify, in medicine "comorbidity" refers to the existence of one or more psychological and/or physical diseases or disorders which co-occur with a primary disorder.  Comorbidities may be independent of one another or related to/caused by the primary disorder/disease, but what is important in terms of treatment is the complexities involved and overall impact on a patient's health.   Some of the comorbidities which have been associated with CPTSD include: eating disorders, addiction, anxiety and depression, obesity, self-harm, and suicidality.

Illnesses/Diseases in Adulthood

Danese, A. & van Harmelen, A. (2017). The hidden wounds of childhood trauma, European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 8(7).  This article explores the notion that childhood psychological trauma triggers an inflammatory response in the body to prepare it to face potential physical injury, and that this can lead to diseases/illnesses in adulthood.

Suicidality and Self-Harm

Ford J. D. & Gómez, J. (2015). The relationship of psychological trauma and dissociative and posttraumatic stress disorders to nonsuicidal self-Injury and suicidality: A review. Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, 16(3), 232-271


Reference: Judith Herman and the Formulation of C-PTSD,  (Includes a video of an interview with Judith Herman)

The term Complex PTSD was first proposed as a diagnosis by Judith Herman is her 1992 book Trauma and Recovery to describe a cluster of symptoms which results from ongoing or repeated trauma over which the victim has little or no control, and from which there is no real or perceived hope of escape (e.g., children who are subjected to abuse and/or neglect by their parents).

It is in this respect that CPTSD differs from the more well-known diagnosis Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which typically involves a single instance of acute trauma such as witnessing a tragedy or being the victim of an act of violence.  That is, CPTSD is a layering of repeated trauma which results in additional symptoms to those of PTSD. In addition to the recurring flashbacks, avoidance or numbing of memories of the traumatic event, and hypervigilance experienced in PTSD, CPTSD involves five additional symptoms which include alterations in:

•   regulation of emotions (e.g., anger, hair trigger flight/flight responses, suicide ideation);
•   consciousness (e.g., dissociation);
•   self-perception (e.g., fragile sense of self; pervasive sense of shame, guilt, self-blame, of being completely different from other human beings)
•   perception of the perpetrator(s) (e.g., preoccupation with relationship with perpetrator);
•   relations with others (e.g., isolation and withdrawal, distrust of others, relationship difficulties, loneliness and feelings of abandonment/rejection);
•   systems of meaning (e.g., sense of hopelessness and despair, depression).


Reference: Walker, P. (2013) CPTSD: From Surviving to Thriving.  Web site:

CPTSD is a more severe form of Post-traumatic stress disorder.  It is delineated from this better known trauma syndrome by five of its most common and troublesome features:

Emotional flashbacks ...are sudden and often prolonged regressions to the overwhelming feelings states of being an abused/abandoned child" and involve "shame, alienation, rage, grief and depression (p. 3).  These are unlike flashbacks experienced with PTSD in that EFs do not typically have a visual component. (p. 3)

Toxic shame -can obliterate your self-esteem in the blink of an eye. In an emotional flashback you can regress instantly into feeling and thinking that you are as worthless and contemptible as your family perceived you .... toxic shame also inhibits us from seeking emotional comfort  and support.  In a reenactment of the childhood abandonment we are flashing back to, we often isolate ourselves and helplessly surrender to an overwhelming feeling of humiliation (pp. 5-6).

Self-abandonment - As the quest for perfectionism fails over and over, and as parental acceptance and nurturing remain elusive, imperfectionism becomes synonymous with shame and fear. Perceived imperfection triggers fear of abandonment, which triggers self-hate for imperfection which expands abandonment into self-abandonment[/i] (p. 177).

Vicious inner critic - The inner critic blames you incessantly for shortcomings that it imagines to be the cause of your parents' rejection. It is incapable of understanding that the real cause lies in your parents' shortcomings" [/i](p. 168).  ... most survivors spend tremendous amounts of time barely conscious of how incessantly self-critical they are (p. 172).

Social anxiety - Many therapists see CPTSD as an attachment disorder. This means that as a child the survivor grew up without a safe adult to healthily bond with.....  When the developmental need to practice healthy relating with a caretaker is unmet, survivors typically struggle to find and maintain healthy relationships.  ........childhood abuse installs a powerful people-are-dangerous program [/i](pp. 50-51)


Thank you this is very helpful ...:)
I find Petes book amazing but hard to navigate



this helps make it so clear.  thanks so much.

Fen Starshimmer

More excellent resources. Thanks Kizzie!  :thumbup:


Feel free to add if you come across anything relevant/useful!


#8 - found this helpful

Note from KIzzie - While the information in this podcast appears to be sound/credible, please bear in mind that there is no author information provided (name, credentials, etc), so judge its worth accordingly.

Three Roses

Thanks, paulpav, I'm going to take a look at that later. And by the way, welcome. ;)


Came across this today - CDC: Childhood Trauma Is A Public Health Issue And We Can Do More To Prevent It

Childhood trauma causes serious health repercussions throughout life and is a public health issue that calls for concerted prevention efforts. That's the takeaway of a report published Tuesday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Experiencing traumatic things as a child puts you at risk for lifelong health effects, according to a body of research. The CDC's new report confirms this, finding that Americans who had experienced adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, were at higher risk of dying from five of the top 10 leading causes of death.

And those who had been through more bad experiences — such as abuse or neglect, witnessing violence at home or growing up in a family with mental health or substance abuse problems — were at an even higher risk