Understanding Complex PTSD Treatment in Scottsdale

When people experience trauma, their bodies react in different ways. Some people develop post-traumatic stress disorder, while others experience a more severe form known as Complex PTSD or C-PTSD. C-PTSD affects up to 8% of the population. While some aspects of the condition can be similar to PTSD, several factors distinguish the two. Understanding the difference can help you or a loved one receive the necessary complex PTSD treatment in Scottsdale.

What is C-PTSD?

C-PTSD is a condition that results from a series of traumatic events that happen over time or one prolonged event. [1] While some of the symptoms can mimic PTSD, they typically last longer and are more intense. This type of trauma can occur as an adult but is most often seen in children and adolescents. [2]

Causes of C-PTSD

There are many traumas or events that can lead someone to experience C-PTSD. Sexual, physical, and emotional abuse, as well as neglect, can leave someone with significant trauma. Experiences such as sex trafficking, torture, slavery, and exploitation can have the same detrimental effects.

Symptoms of C-PTSD

The symptoms of C-PTSD can include those associated with PTSD, such as [2]:

  • Changes in Feelings: A person may develop a negative view of the world and find it difficult to be happy or do enjoyable activities.
  • Hyperarousal: This occurs when someone is easily startled and constantly feels “on edge.”
  • Physical Ailments: Those with PTSD and C-PTSD can experience pain, fatigue, blurred vision, and a high heart rate.

People with C-PTSD can experience those symptoms as well as:

  • Dissociation: A person may feel detached from themselves or their surroundings.
  • Emotional Issues: Those with C-PTSD can experience intense emotional reactions to minor stress or have violent outbursts in specific situations.
  • Low Self-Esteem: C-PTSD can result in low self-esteem, shame, or guilt.
  • Hopeless: People who have C-PTSD can have a loss of core values, beliefs, and faith.
  • Poor Relationships: An inability to trust others due to the trauma experienced can lead to poor relationships and isolation.

Diagnosing C-PTSD

There are no formal tests to distinguish whether someone has PTSD or C-PTSD. [2] Patients should track their symptoms so their doctor can make the correct diagnosis. Knowing when symptoms started, especially if there’s been a traumatic event, can help recognize changes in behavior.

It’s also important to note whether symptoms begin to interfere with daily life and responsibilities. This can also lead doctors to a diagnosis of C-PTSD as they look at a patient’s medical history and traumatic events they may have experienced.

How C-PTSD Impacts Mental Health

C-PTSD can have a severe impact on a person’s mental health. The trauma that leads to the feelings a person is experiencing can result in anxiety, depression, and isolation.

Anxiety and depression are among the most common mental health illnesses, with some 280 million people worldwide dealing with depression. [3] It’s estimated that more than 300 million people are dealing with an anxiety disorder around the world. Left untreated, these conditions can only intensify, causing more significant mental health distress. Seeking treatment for C-PTSD can help people deal with these conditions as they deal with their trauma.

Complex PTSD Treatment in Scottsdale at Healing Foundations Center

Healing Foundations offers Complex PTSD treatment in Scottsdale to help people cope with their condition. A customized treatment plan will be developed and can include:


Patients can talk to a therapist in a group or alone. This can help to identify negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

This is a common treatment for PTSD and can also be used to treat those with C-PTSD. This involves thinking about a traumatic moment while moving your eyes from side to side. Someone may also tap your hands instead of you moving your eyes. Repeating this type of therapy can help a patient to become desensitized to traumatic events and memories.

Somatic Experiencing

This therapy works on the thoughts that trauma gets trapped in the body, leading to PTSD.


Medications can also help those with C-PTSD. These are typically medications also used to treat depression.

If you or a loved one are dealing with C-PTSD or another mental health issue, the team at Healing Foundations Center can help. Call us today or reach out to us online to learn more about our various treatment plans.



[1] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322886#symptoms

[2] https://www.verywellhealth.com/complex-trauma-treatment-5212034

[3] https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/depression