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10 Risk Factors of CPTSD That You Need to Know

What are some risk factors of CPTSD?  First, we need to examine what a risk factor and a traumatic event are.

What Is a Risk factor

risk factor is something that increases the risk of something happening.  For example, a risk factor for breast cancer is heredity or previous cancer.

What is a traumatic event? 

A traumatic event could be anything that causes stress to you, whether it be physically, mentally, psychologically, emotionally or even spiritually.  It could be an accident (whether by vehicle or otherwise), abuse, combat, witnessing violence, or the sudden death of a close family member.

What is Chronic PTSD (or CPTSD

Chronic PTSD is when the PTSD symptoms last at least three months. The symptoms also include more intense manifestations such as: emotional stability, hopelessness, anger, feelings of worthlessness, dissociation, alienating oneself, distrust, feeling like no one understands you, and many more.


Common risk factors of CPTSD

Previous trauma 

This is when you experienced another trauma in the past.   You may not have shown PTSD symptoms at the first trauma but the second one may cause post-traumatic stress disorder.

History of abuse and Complex PTSD

From my experience, the longer you endure the abuse, the worse the PTSD symptoms will become.  My marriage lasted thirty years and it has taken a few years to work through the worst of the trauma.  I am still healing but the symptoms are slowly dissipating.  It has been said to figure one year to heal from the abuse for every five years of the abuse.

Family History of PTSD or Depression  

I cannot tell you how long I have been depressed because it crept up on me and made its residence long before I knew it was there.  I do have several family members who were diagnosed with depression and some who exhibit the symptoms but were too afraid of the unknown to approach a physician.

PTSD includes a history of Substance Abuse

According to the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being, teenagers who experienced any type of assault or abuse were three times more likely to report involvement with substance abuse than those without some form of trauma in their history. 


Poor coping skills with PTSD

Those with little or no coping strategies will be less likely to embrace beneficial resources or seek non-toxic friendships after experiencing some sort of trauma. Those who try to deal with their problems on their own will eat greater risk for developing trauma disorders.


Sexual abuse and trauma

Sexual abuse can be devastating for its victim.  The act is extremely personal, and the violation will cause the victim to feel dirty and used.  The fact that the perpetrator is usually a self-centered narcissist who believes he is entitled to every facet of his female victim makes the offense all the worse.  It shows he does not care at all for her and is only interested in serving himself.  

Unfortunately, this is often the mentality of conservative clergy who will wield their supremacy by misquoting the Bible to gain power and control.  This has been a problem in some Baptist, Mennonite and, yes, even Amish churches.  The men usually believe they are supreme rulers and women have no more standing than the dirt on their feet.  The sins of these supposed “honorable” men are usually covered up in the cloak of secrecy to maintain the good standing of the abuser.  These men are helped and their sin, “forgiven and forgotten”, while the women they chose to violate are left out in the cold to get through life in survival mode, still dealing with their trauma, unsure how to escape.

Trauma and poor coping skills

Negative coping skills can contribute to trauma in the form of substance abuse.  The victim will drown him/herself in their substance of choice to mask their problems.  Eventually they will have to stop using their substance to face their problem.  It is still there no matter how much they tried to pretend it wasn’t there.

Victims will often self-isolate.  The abuse victim will be used to it as their abuser would not allow the victim to have friendships.  The PTSD survivor needs social interaction no matter how much they feel that they don’t. 

Ongoing stress can perpetuate PTSD.

This can include bullying, domestic violence, a life-threatening illness such as cancer, or even childhood abuse or neglect.  I experienced at least three of those listed.  In 2008 I was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer while living with domestic abuse.  I was also bullied as a child. I don’t even think I even realized how bad my anxiety was until I got away from my abuser.

The trauma risk of being a woman.

Five out of ten females will experience at least one traumatic event in their lifetime.  When researchers studied women who experienced sexual assault, they made an interesting discovery.  The women in the study had the same reactions as male Veterans.  Women were more likely to experience abuse in their intimate relationship or sexual assault. The National Center for PTSD

Personality traits affect likelihood of trauma.

Those with negative personality traits such as impulsivity, hyperactivity, anxiety, irritation, sadness, vulnerability, insecurity, moodiness, sensation seeking, and risk taking are more likely to experience violence.  In fact, children with difficult personality traits were more likely to experience parental hostility, neglect, and physical abuse.

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