4 Different Types of Trauma

Different Types of Trauma

Trauma refers to a person’s reaction to a very upsetting incident that exceeds their ability to cope.

It affects a person’s sense of self and ability to feel a complete variety of emotions and experiences.

A person who has experienced trauma might react in several ways. They could be in a state of disbelief or shock.

Also, trauma can cause physical symptoms such as fatigue, headache, and nausea. However, there are different types of trauma, and it is visible in some people than others.

Read on to learn more about trauma, the types, symptoms, and traumatic events.

Types of Trauma

Trauma is of three types. They are acute, chronic, complex, and secondary trauma, and each type has its symptoms and causes.

Let us discuss each of these types below.

1. Acute Trauma

It often results from a single incident like rape, accident, etc. These incidents are usually deep that they create a memory in the person’s mind.

Thus, affecting the person’s physical or emotional security. Even, it could be deep to the extent that it starts to affect a person’s sense of reasoning. Below are some of the symptoms of acute trauma.

Although you’ll find some of them in the other types of trauma too;

  • Irrelevant trust issues
  • Irritation
  • Excessive panic
  • Nausea

2. Chronic Trauma

This trauma type occurs when an individual has experienced an incident repeatedly. It could be in the form of illness, domestic violence, or bullying.

Also, different occurrences of acute trauma and untreated acute trauma could lead to chronic trauma.

Furthermore, one of the terrible downsides of this type of trauma is that an individual suffering from chronic trauma might have issues maintaining a job or relationship.

Below are some of the symptoms of chronic trauma;

  • Flashbacks.
  • Anxiety.
  • Extreme anger.
  • Emotional flareups.

3. Complex Trauma

This trauma type is a severe one. It occurs when an individual has experienced various traumatic events.

Most people who suffer from complex trauma are victims of neglect, child abuse, and domestic violence. However, this trauma significantly impacts the victim’s mind and makes them feel trapped.

Thus, affecting their relationship with other people.

4. Secondary Trauma

People also refer to this trauma as vicarious trauma. This mostly happens to people who have had close contact with people suffering from traumatic events.

General Symptoms of Trauma

Trauma symptoms range from minor to severe. Many factors influence how a person reacts to a traumatic situation. They are the state of their mental health, personality, the type of traumatic experience, etc.

Also, the symptoms could be emotional or physical. Let us discuss the symptoms of each response.

Emotional Symptoms

Below is the list of emotional symptoms that a traumatized person may exhibit. And these symptoms are for any trauma type.

  • Guilt
  • Numbness
  • Shame
  • Anger
  • Irritation
  • Denial
  • Shock

Physical Symptoms

Below is the list of physical symptoms that a traumatized person may exhibit.

  • Sweat
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Digestive issues
  • Breathing difficulty

Traumatic Events

There are different types of trauma, but various traumatic events are also. A person doesn’t just get traumatized without an incident occurring.

Something distressing must have happened to cause any trauma. It’s either it happened once or repeatedly. It just must have happened.

However, let us discuss some of the traumatic events we know.

Community Violence

Community violence refers to being exposed to purposeful acts of interpersonal violence performed in public places by individuals who are not members of a group.

Neither of these persons is related to the victim on a personal level. Although people expect some forms of traumatic events, community violence can occur unexpectedly.

Individual and group conflicts are two of the most common types of community violence that affect young people.

As a result, families who live in communities where violence is prevalent frequently experience elevated levels of worry that harm could occur at any time.


Bullying is an unwanted act carried out to cause harm to someone weaker. It usually happens regularly, preventing someone from living in a secure, stress-free atmosphere. It could, however, be verbal, physical, or social.

Cyberbullying also entails delivering derogatory content via email and publishing derogatory text or images on social media.

Child Sexual Abuse

Child sexual abuse is any sexual interaction between a child and an adult. This act could lead to any trauma, depending on its duration.

This situation occurs when someone uses a child sexually to stimulate the perpetrator. Also, the child can be an observer during this act.

However, sexual abuse can include both touching and non-touching behaviors. It is not always physical.

Exposing the child to pornography is an example of non-touching behaviors. Children of all ages, races, and socioeconomic backgrounds are victims of sexual abuse.

Even in diverse neighborhoods and communities, it impacts both girls and boys.


Several disasters could happen. It could be accidents, rape, or even natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes, etc. Any of these events could cause an individual to lose their minds.

The reason is that, during these unfortunate incidents, the victims must have lost loved ones, properties, etc.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence happens when a person intentionally harms or threatens to hurt a former or current partner or spouse. People also refer to it as Intimate Partner Violence (IPV).

The incidence and severity of IPV might vary and lead to any type of trauma. Children are frequently the silent or hidden victims of IPV, with some being actively injured and others being terrified observers.

Emotional abuse, neglect, physical abuse, and community violence are more common in children who have been exposed to IPV.

Although women are most IPV victims, it is vital to recognize that men can also be victims.

Treatments for Trauma

There are several treatments available for people suffering from any type of trauma. Let us look into some of the various treatments.

  1. Therapy: Therapy is the first line of defense against trauma. Traumatized individuals should work with a therapist who is trauma informed. However, there are various types of therapy that a traumatized person might benefit from. They are the Cognitized Behavioral Therapy, Somatic Therapy, etc.
  2. Medication: Medications don’t cure trauma. Instead, they help the victim in managing the symptoms. It’s also advisable to speak of other options with the doctor.
  3. Selfcare: This involves taking care of one’s self. You should do more exercise daily, eat balanced diet, stay in calm places, and sleep frequently.
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