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  • Fight or Flight! The Stress Responses of Complex PTSD.

    What is Complex PTSD?

    Complex PTSD is the result of exposure to pervasive, relational trauma. Complex trauma includes symptoms of PTSD in addition to other trauma symptoms such as emotional disregulation, strained interpersonal relationships, shame, and dissociation. Complex PTSD often occurs from childhood abuse/neglect or intimate partner violence. The neurobiological effects of childhood trauma are further explained in an article by the American Psychological Association

    Understanding the Stress Responses of Complex PTSD

    Complex PTSD effects the brain’s ability to process stressful stimuli, making it overly responsive to trauma triggers. Below are the five stress responses a person with Complex PTSD will exhibit when facing a perceived threat:

    Fight:  This response is activated when a person determines they can overpower a perceived threat. This includes yelling, destroying property, instigating verbal or physical altercations, or attempting to dominate others.

    Flight: This response is activated when a person determines they can escape a perceived threat.  Examples include physically leaving a situation, engaging in distracting behaviors (such as eating, drinking, scrolling on phone), terminating relationships, avoiding situations, or procrastinating.

    Freeze: This response is activated when a person determines they can avoid being noticed by a perceived threat. Someone in freeze mode is rigid, still, quiet, or disengaged.

    Fawn/People Pleasing: This response is activated when a person determines they can appease a perceived threat by keeping others happy. Examples of this include anticipating the needs of others, adjusting one’s personality to fit in with others, being overly agreeable, struggling to enforce boundaries, and frequently apologizing.

    Submit/Collapse: This response is activated when a person determines they are helpless to defend against a perceived threat. The brain attempts to avoid pain by disconnecting from the body. This includes being numb, disconnected, shutdown, or dissociative.

    Therapy for Complex PTSD

    I specialize in treating individuals with complex PTSD. All services are done online for men and women residing in the states of Georgia or Tennessee. Contact me to learn more about starting therapy for Complex PTSD.

    Online Locations: Nashville, Tennessee – Brentwood, Tennessee – Atlanta, Georgia – Sandy Springs, Georgia – Greater Tennessee and Georgia Area

    Mailing Addresses: 1604 Westgate Circle, Brentwood TN. 37027 – 5887 Glenridge Dr. Sandy Springs, GA. 30328

    Get Started with Trauma Therapy!