Complex PTSD: COMMON MISDIAGNOSES

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Many people with a history of complex PTSD and dissociation have been misunderstood, misdiagnosed, and inappropriately medicated. Here are some reasons why:

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  1. C-PTSD is not included in the DSM-5: Despite much deliberation, neither C-PTSD nor DTD was added to the latest version of the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition) used by clinicians. The diagnosis listed for PTSD most closely matches the symptoms and effects of C-PTSD, because more than 90 percent of the symptoms are the same.
  2. Co-occurring diagnoses can mask C-PTSD: Accurate diagnosis sometimes is difficult because disorders can exist simultaneously, known as co-occurrence. For example, children who were neglected or abused are at higher risk for anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, and learning disabilities. Children with these disorders are also at greater risk for abuse.
  3. C-PTSD symptoms look like other disorders: The symptoms of C-PTSD can mimic symptoms of other disorders. For example, a child or teen who has been abused or neglected might appear impulsive, anxious, angry, and/or depressed. But if a thorough family history is not understood, it can lead to inaccurate diagnoses of bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, or major depressive disorder.

10 responses to this post.

  1. I think it mimics BPD a lot too. Especially if it come with attachment issues. I know a lot of the responses can look a lot alike, even though they stem from a much different place. I find that to be incredibly frustrating, when people don’t understand what trauma and CPTSD really are.

  2. Thanks for sharing

    I find almost no one understands complex PTSD or what it is like to battle every day

    I know they do not understand a nervous system turned upside down

    That’s why we get the phrase, why can’t you just let it go

    If only it were that easy

  3. Posted by rudid96 on May 23, 2022 at 5:24 pm

    Alana, I agree with your statement “I think it mimics BPD a lot too.” The first therapist I ever met, clearly thought that was my issue. She sent me on a wild goose chase that left me short on money and misdiagnosed. For a profession that declares “do no harm” it leaves one scratching their head.

  4. I am not a therapist and far from an expert on bpd

    I am not a cutter or self-harm but mood swings and relationship issues, emotional regulation oh yes

    I am closer to a depressive bipolar

    With a touch of ocd

  5. Posted by rudid96 on May 24, 2022 at 1:24 pm

    Therapists do wonderful work, sometimes. Those that use a label too quickly can do great harm. I am only an expert on identifying my own personal demons.

  6. Like any other career

    There are
    Good and not so talented therapists

    How do you know

  7. Posted by rudid96 on May 24, 2022 at 1:33 pm

    You don’t that’s the problem. Most people seek help when at an emotional low point. The same may be said when one seeks the help of a medical physician. The difference here is that the therapist connection messes with our heads. It’s much easier to recognize a medical doctor is a wrong fit.

  8. People are afraid of the therapist or unable to decipher if he/she is competent

    Took me a king time and lots of reading to know a good therapist, a fit for me

    I am demanding of my therapist

    I demand they care or I leave

    I do not want a cold calculated therapist

  9. Posted by rudid96 on May 24, 2022 at 2:07 pm

    I still struggle with speaking up, and speaking my truth, even if it’s misguided or wrong. A large part of my childhood abuse was “I was always wrong.” There was no Self, it was all about the parent

  10. I hid in school

    Performed on tests

    I could study and get grades

    In college my jock friends would sit around me

    The farther they say away the worse their score

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