The 5 Types of Trauma

Trauma is extremely complex and can come from a wide variety of causes. It could either build up after time or hit someone out of the blue after a life-altering event.

Since each case is so different, trauma is organized into five different categories. These categories are intended to help us understand how to treat each type of trauma.

What Is Trauma?

But before we hop into the different types and treatments of trauma, let’s go over what trauma is in general. Trauma, by definition, is a response to an event that someone finds highly stressful.

Trauma can appear at random points throughout a person’s life and can cause many physical and emotional effects. One of the most common results of trauma is PTSD, which comes with its own set of symptoms.

How Trauma Can Affect You

Emotional and physical symptoms of trauma may include:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Shame
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Withdrawing from others
  • Flashbacks
  • Nightmares
  • Headaches
  • Sweating
  • Heart racing

These effects may be sudden or build up over time after exposure to risk factors of trauma.

Risk Factors of Trauma

As we mentioned earlier, trauma can come from a variety of experiences. Some events or issues that may pose a risk for trauma or PTSD include:

  • Bullying
  • Harassment
  • Physical & sexual assault
  • War & genocide
  • Witnessing an attack
  • Traffic accidents
  • Being attacked or kidnapped
  • Natural disasters
  • Domestic abuse
  • Racism
  • Losing someone

Depending on what causes the trauma, each person’s case will fall into a different category. Once you can match your individual story with a type of trauma, you will hopefully be able to get successful treatment.

What Are the Different Types of Trauma?

So now let’s dive into the specific types of trauma. While they could probably be broken down into plenty of subcategories, the main five kinds of trauma are listed below:

Type 1

Type 1 trauma, commonly related to PTSD, usually stems from one single traumatizing incident.

This type of trauma may be caused by: severe illness, sexual or violent assault, witnessing a terrorist attack or natural disaster, childbirth, road accidents, suicide attempt, mugging, or robbery.

Type 2

Type 2, also related to PTSD, is a kind of trauma that usually occurs over a long period of time. Most of the events associated with this type of trauma occur during childhood.

This type of trauma may be caused by: domestic violence, domestic abuse, sexual or emotional abuse, physical neglect, abandonment, or bullying

Historical or Collective

This kind of trauma typically comes from difficulties that affect certain communities, cultures, or groups.

Historical or Collective trauma may be caused by: racism, genocide, war, or removal from home


Secondary trauma occurs either when someone has witnessed a traumatic event (like a natural disaster or an attack) or when they have heard about someone else’s traumatic experience. While it may be rare, some people can feel some symptoms of trauma after listening to someone else’s story of their traumatic event.

Little T

Little T trauma can come from common or everyday experiences that can still greatly impact someone mentally or physically.

This type of trauma may be caused by: moving, losing a job, or losing a loved one

Recovering From All Kinds of Trauma

One you know what kind of trauma you are suffering from, you will be more equipped to seek the right doctor or treatment for you. Treatment methods for trauma may include:

  • Therapy (CBT, for example)
  • PTSD medication
  • Self care practices (exercise & mindfulness)

If you think that you or a loved one may be experiencing any of these types of trauma, contact our team of mental health specialists by visiting us here or calling 866-345-2147.




Young man with ptsd on a group psychotherapy
What Is the Best Type of Therapy for Substance Abuse?
Find the Ideal Therapy Method for Addiction Disorders Addiction is a very complex disease; and it…
Female patient with nervous breakdown during therapy session
What Is Considered “Long-Term” Addiction Treatment?
 Addiction, if not recognized and treated, can become a very serious disease that takes a toll…
Read More Blogs >
We're Ready To Help! 24/7 Admissions and Transportation Available
Call Us Today and Get The Help You Deserve
Overcome your addiction today with the help of the best addiction rehab centers in the U.S.
We are in-network with most major insurance companies
Verify Insurance
We Want To Help You
Submit this form and our admissions team will give you a call.

"*" indicates required fields