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HomeHealthIs Complex PTSD a Disability? Your Simple Guide

Is Complex PTSD a Disability? Your Simple Guide


Have you suffered from PTSD after a traumatic event in your life? If so, you know how hard it is to live through it at all. However, there is a distinct form of post-traumatic stress disorder that can make it almost unbearable.

That form of PTSD is known as complex PTSD. Many people don’t know that this disorder exists. But is complex PTSD a disability? We’ll help you answer this question.

In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about complex PTSD, how it might affect you, and how to get the help you need. Let’s get into it!

Is Complex PTSD a Disability?

As a result of prolonged and repeated trauma, complex post-traumatic stress disorder can develop. It is a more severe form of PTSD and is characterized by symptoms such as:

  • flashbacks
  • severe anxiety
  • difficulty regulating emotions

However, many people wonder if CPTSD is considered a disability. While it’s not listed as a disability in the DSM-5, it can significantly impair a person’s ability to function in daily life.

This can impact their relationships, work, and overall well-being. Ultimately, the decision of whether it is a disability may vary depending on individual circumstances.

Its recognition as a disability can also play a role in access to support and resources for those affected. Individuals with this disorder need to seek support and accommodations, as it can be a debilitating condition.

Challenging Misconceptions About Complex PTSD and Disability

There is a common misconception that individuals with CPTSD are simply “weak” or unable to handle stress. However, this is far from the truth, as it is often the result of severe and prolonged trauma.

It is not a sign of weakness or a personal failure. Likewise, being disabled does not automatically mean a person is unable to contribute to society or live fulfilling lives.

It’s important to challenge these misconceptions and recognize that individuals with complex PTSD and disabilities have unique strengths and capabilities that should be valued and supported.

We must strive to create a more inclusive and understanding society where individuals can receive the necessary resources and support to thrive.

Exploring the Symptoms of CPTSD

The causes of CPTSD are ongoing or repeated traumas, in contrast to traditional PTSD, which is triggered by a particular event. People diagnosed with CPTSD experience a wide range of symptoms of PTSD, such as:


One of the primary symptoms of this disorder is experiencing flashbacks. This is where a person suddenly and vividly relives a traumatic event. They can occur at any time, triggered by something that reminds the individual of their trauma.

In addition to being extremely distressing, this may cause physical responses such as rapid heartbeats and sweating. Lastly, flashbacks in complex PTSD may also involve feelings of shame, guilt, or dissociation. 


Nightmares are a common symptom of CPTSD. This typically manifests as vivid and distressing dreams that can leave individuals feeling anxious, fearful, and even physically overwhelmed.

Also, they often contain elements related to traumatic events and can result in:

  • disrupt sleep patterns
  • fatigue
  • difficulty functioning during the day

They can also trigger intense emotions and physical reactions, making it challenging to regulate mood and manage daily tasks. In order to find effective treatment and coping strategies for CPTSD, it is necessary to explore the symptoms of the disorder.

Avoidance of Triggers

Avoidance of triggers can manifest in a variety of ways. This can be anything from actively avoiding places or situations to emotionally shutting down when confronted with a trigger.

This symptom can greatly affect an individual’s daily life, as they may go to great lengths to avoid anything that may cause their traumatic memories. For those with CPTSD, it is best to learn healthy coping mechanisms for managing their avoidance of triggers.

Emotional Dysregulation

This symptom is characterized by intense and often unpredictable emotional reactions such as anger, fear, sadness, and shame. Individuals may struggle to manage these emotions, often experiencing them in overwhelming ways.

Emotional dysregulation can also lead to impulsive and self-destructive behaviors. This can further exacerbate the difficulties faced by those people with Complex PTSD.

Difficulty Trusting Others

Due to the trauma and betrayal experienced in the past, individuals with this disorder may struggle with forming and maintaining healthy relationships. It can result in an ongoing sense of suspicion, fear, and isolation as a result. 

In addition, it may also manifest as:

  • difficulty in opening up to others
  • feeling vulnerable
  • relying on others for support

Addressing this symptom is crucial in the healing process for individuals with complex PTSD. Therapy and trauma counselling can help individuals learn to trust and form positive connections with others.

Treatments Available for Those Suffering From CPTSD

Fortunately, there are a variety of treatments available to help those suffering from CPTSD. These treatments may include therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy or EMDR.

These treatments are specifically designed to help individuals process and cope with their trauma. There is also the possibility of prescription medications being prescribed in order to help manage symptoms and improve overall health.

Other treatment options may include:

  • practicing mindfulness and self-care techniques
  • joining support groups
  • yoga and meditation

When individuals receive the appropriate treatment and support, they are able to manage their CPTSD and lead fulfilling lives.

Understanding Disability Accommodations for Complex PTSD

To support individuals with CPTSD, it is crucial to understand the specific disability accommodations that may be needed. Firstly, individuals may be required to have flexible work schedules, as their symptoms can fluctuate and affect their ability to work consistently.

Additionally, it is important to create a safe and supportive environment with open communication channels and a trauma-sensitive approach. Providing breaks during overwhelming situations and providing options for alternate workspaces can also be helpful.

Overall, knowing the unique needs of those suffering from CPTSD is key to providing effective and inclusive disability accommodations.

A Guide to Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Understanding and recognizing the symptoms of CPTSD is crucial in seeking proper treatment and healing. With the help of this guide, I have been able to gain valuable insights and resources related to the question, “Is complex PTSD a disability?”

It is important to remember that seeking help and support is not a sign of weakness but rather a courageous step towards recovery. If you or someone you know is struggling, please reach out for help today. 

Apart from this informative piece, visit our Health Category if you want to know about Common Foot Injuries in Athletes and How a Sports Podiatrist Can Help.

I'm Isabella Bennett, a seasoned blog author with a passion for diverse topics. Join me on a journey through the blogosphere, where I explore a wide range of subjects, providing unique insights and valuable information. From lifestyle and travel to technology and beyond, I'm here to make your reading experience both enjoyable and informative. Let's embark on this blogging adventure together!

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