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Differences between PTSD and Complex PTSD

What is the difference between PTSD and Complex PTSD? Is Complex PTSD a Diagnosis in the DSM 5?

Can you describe the difference between MDD, Bipolar I and II?

Difference between PTSD and Complex PTSD

1. PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) is a mental health condition which is triggered by terrifying events, either by witnessing them or experiencing them. Symptoms may include nightmares, flashbacks and severe anxiety. Complex PTSD is a disorder that describes the long term effects of prolonged and severe trauma, mainly because of domestic violence of child abuse.

2. Complex PTSD has greater functional impairment compared with PTSD.

3. PTSD survivors may feel “not themselves” while Complex PTSD survivors feel no sense of themselves at all and they never experience a change in their personality.

4. Complex PTSD was under consideration whether to be included in DSM 5 but it was never included thus complex PTSD is not a diagnosis in the DSM 5. Complex PTSD will continue to be listed as a disorder.

Difference between MDD, Bipolar I and II

1. Major depressive disorder (MDD) it is a mental disorder, it is also known as unipolar disorder. MDD is characterized by pervasive and persistent low mood which is also accompanied by loss of interest in enjoyable activities and low self-esteem.

2. Bipolar I disorder is indicated by one or more manic or mixed episodes, that is, symptoms of both depression and mania occurring almost every day for a minimum of one week and one major occurrence of depressive episodes.

3. Bipolar II disorder is usually diagnosed after one or more major depressive episodes and a minimum of one episode of hypomania, with possible periods of level mood between episodes

4. Hypomania is very high in bipolar II than those in bipolar I. If hippomanic episodes are not recognized in bipolar II, it is sometimes misdiagnosed as major depression.


Herman, J. (1997). Trauma and recovery: The aftermath of violence from domestic abuse to political terror. New York: Basic Books.

American Psychiatry Association (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.). Arlington: American Psychiatric Publishing. pp. 123–154.

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