Often, the definition of post traumatic stress disorder seems medically inapplicable to patients who suffer from long term symptoms. These individuals experience changes in their self concept and alterations in the way in which they deal with other stressful situations. This is why some experts in the field of post traumatic stress disorder believe there should be two separate categories for post traumatic stress disorder to include those experiencing long term effects. Experts suggest these individuals be classified as having complex post traumatic stress disorder.
Symptoms and Causes
Most people who experience what is classified as complex post traumatic stress disorder have been exposed to long periods of captivity. These people have frequently been prisoners of war, sexually abused as children, forced to engage in prostitution, or have been involved in an abusive relationship. Complex post traumatic stress disorder is caused by a person being controlled by another person for an extended period of time. Sufferers experience periods of extreme sadness and guilt. Often, fits of rage and anger accompany these periods of depression and many victims feel that they are subhuman in worth. Some patients become totally driven by the desire to obtain revenge on the person who formerly held them captive. This can be a frustrating situation for a war veteran who will likely never get the chance to face his captors.
Patients are likely to exhibit signs of general distrust in other people as well as a predisposition to isolate themselves from the world. These patients avoid conversations or thoughts that remind them of their captivity and may turn to drug abuse as an option for soothing their emotional pain.
Self Harm and Psychological Problems
Some intentionally harm themselves physically through self mutilation. This is a way of punishing themselves for the guilt that they feel or as a way to cry out for help. Some patients are misdiagnosed as having other mental disorders such as masochistic disorder, If this occurs, the patient is being unduly charged with being the cause of their psychological problems when in fact, it was the prolonged experience of captivity that caused the complex post traumatic stress disorder.