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A Simple Guide to Understanding DESNOS

“Hello there! I’m here to provide you with a bit of information on the various aspects of DESNOS (Disorders of Extreme Stress Not Otherwise Specified) to normalize these states of mind and help you feel understood during your journey of growth and healing. I would like to remind you that suggestions on this post should not be taken as medical advice, legal advice, therapy, etc. or as a one-size-fits-all approach. Keep in mind that every individual’s journey of experiencing and navigating through DESNOS is distinctive because you are one of a kind and no person is truly like you! Experiencing abuse in any form is NOT OKAY, but what you are experiencing as a result of abuse is valid. Please know that healing is not a formula and is not for anyone else to define for you. You do you, and you follow all that you need to follow, to help yourself. If you need additional resources or just someone to talk to, feel free to reach out to Imaara Foundation."

(Image Source: Youth Ki Awaz)

What is Disorders of Extreme Stress Not Otherwise Specified (DESNOS)?

DESNOS, also called 'Complex PTSD' is a diagnosis that is made by a psychiatrist or a clinical psychologist for a person who experiences symptoms like:

  • difficulty in managing anger

  • self destructive behaviors

  • changes in attention which may also lead to experiencing depersonalizations, amnesias, or dissociative episodes

  • changes in the way one can control their emotional impulses

  • feeling constantly guilty and responsible

  • feeling constantly ashamed

  • changing one's relationships with others

  • not being able to trust others

  • not being able to be intimate

  • experiencing physical symptoms that have no medical explanation

  • experiencing changes in the meaning of words, behaviors, symbols, etc.

However, these symptoms are a result of childhood abuse or early interpersonal traumas, which has led to developmental issues and the symptoms mentioned above (Kolk, 2000).

Is there a difference between DESNOS and PTSD?

What are some things to keep in mind?

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