Compounded Complex Trauma vs. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Subject: Psychiatry
Pages: 2
Words: 668
Reading time:
3 min
Study level: Bachelor

Compounded Complex Trauma

Compounded complex trauma is a disorder that manifests itself when people experience several traumatic incidents in their lives. It can refer to multiple terrifying events occurring at the same time. Moreover, the reason it persists is that human beings have memories naturally, which enable them to remember past events in their lifetime (Bryant, 2019). An example of a compound-complex trauma is the case described in the book, which consists of the fact that this disease manifests itself not only from feelings of frustration but also from exposure to violence (Nalepa, 2012). CCT can be caused by minor events such as an accusation of lying. However, it is often associated with incidents such as beatings or violence.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental disease that is caused and triggered from time to time by a frightening event that someone has experienced. It is worth noting the fact that difficult events can occur in the lives of different people, which leads to an unstable psychological state. The effects of trauma range from mild stress and discomfort to nightmares and anxiety attacks. People who have had these experiences have difficulty adjusting to normal life and may need special attention or help and a reasonable amount of time to recover. The book presents a situation in which one of the anonymous responders laments that their daughter committed suicide (Nalepa, 2012). The death of a loved one is one of the most common reasons for psychological trauma. Such incidents become the cause of the manifestation of this disorder since parents are in an indefinite state that prevents them from determining the course of life. This is a perfect example of PTSD, as the actions and the memories of the daughter haunt the victim in the case study.


PTSD and CCT are similarly manifested by the fact that people have to deal with traumatic events that leave a mark on their psychological state. An occurrence of another event triggers the effects of the old experiences in both these diseases. However, these disorders have a minor difference, which is how they manifest themselves. In the case of PTSD, old memories become the cause of its occurrence, while CCT is caused by new events that aggravate the previous ones (Bryant, 2019). In both these illnesses, the victims have recurrent ordeals which, if not treated, may occur for a long time and may never recover in some instances.


There are also some notable differences between PTSD and CCT. In PTSD, the trigger is not necessarily a similar event to the traumatic one, while in CCT, they have to be identical. Sexual assault trauma is compounded by another sexual assault experience in the complex trauma, while in post-traumatic stress disorder, an event that reminds the victim of what happened is the main cause (Bryant, 2019). It is worth mentioning the fact that CCT manifests itself more often, as people have to experience a similar condition in order to avoid it in the future. On the other hand, PTSD can have several causes, which determine its occurrence in people with a compounded complex trauma.

My Childhood Traumatic Experiences

The feeling of being unwanted and neglected by your parents is always traumatizing to the affected kids. One of the respondents to the author’s email mentioned the situation in their family, where the father is homosexual, which significantly affects the relationship of all members. In my case, my parents were always working when I was a kid and growing up. They always had a fight over who to be home with me or who would attend my important events in life. My father never attended my high school graduation, for example. The inability to get enough attention is traumatic, and it can be said that it was compounded by complex trauma, given that I felt that I was neglected not only as a child but also later in life. Thus, such situations significantly affect how a person perceives various events in life.


Bryant, R. A. (2019). Post‐traumatic stress disorder: A state‐of‐the‐art review of evidence and challenges. World Psychiatry, 18(3), 259-269. Web.

Nalepa, M. A. (2012). PTSD and CCT: An in-depth review on mental health and stress disorders. Anthology of Anonymous, 5(2), 5-15.