About the Different Types of Trauma

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When someone undergoes a traumatic event, it can change who they are. In fact, there are different types of trauma, and knowing which kind a person has makes a difference in what kind of treatment they need. Montare Behavioral Health of Tucson provides a thorough diagnosis of each person so we know the extent of a person’s illness. This allows us to design a program that helps treat their symptoms and lead them out of a life overwhelmed by trauma. 

What Are The Different Types of Trauma? 

There are three main types of trauma that can happen to a person. They are:

  • Acute Trauma
  • Chronic Trauma
  • Complex Trauma

Acute Trauma

Acute trauma, also called Acute Stress Disorder, happens as a result of a single event that is unexpected and overwhelming. The person may try to feel they have overcome it, but the effects are too devastating. The event may be any of the following examples:

  • Sexual assault
  • Physical assault
  • Victim of a violent crime
  • Witnessing a violent act
  • Loss of a loved one
  • Life-threatening illness or accident
  • Natural disasters (hurricane, earthquake, tornado, etc.)
  • Being in a car accident
  • Suicide attempt
  • Act of war or political conflict

Signs and Symptoms of Acute Trauma

Signs of acute trauma typically begin about four weeks after the event. The symptoms include:

  • Consistent anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Flashbacks
  • Depression
  • Dissociation
  • Mood swings
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Nightmares
  • Refusal to discuss the event
  • Fear of the event happening again
  • Signs of grief
  • Substance abuse 
  • Suicidal thoughts

Chronic Trauma

Chronic trauma is the term for what happens when someone is exposed to multiple types of traumatic events over a long period of time. The person may not recognize that each of these events is traumatic and may believe they should be able to cope with all of them without help. The events can include:

  • Long-term child abuse
  • Repeated sexual abuse
  • Repeated physical abuse
  • Childhood neglect
  • Witnessing long-term domestic violence
  • Exposure to acts of war or political conflict
  • Chronic illness
  • Multiple natural disasters (hurricane, earthquake, tornado, etc.)
  • Homelessness

Signs and Symptoms of Chronic Trauma

The chronic trauma signs and symptoms may begin soon after experiencing multiple types of trauma or years after they occur. Signs of chronic trauma include:

  • Mood swings
  • Shame
  • Guilt
  • Anxiety 
  • Depression
  • Flashbacks
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Nightmares
  • Constant fear the person is under threat 
  • Poor memory
  • Suicidal thoughts

Complex Trauma

Complex trauma happens as a result of repeated exposure to traumatic experiences, most commonly during childhood. The events take place over several months or years and often occur at the hands of parents, caregivers, or other family members. The events that happen may be any of the following examples:

  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Emotional and verbal abuse
  • Neglect
  • Bullying
  • Attachment trauma
  • Medical trauma
  • Human trafficking 
  • Overly strict upbringing

Signs and Symptoms of Complex Trauma

Signs and symptoms of complex trauma may begin during adolescence or not surface until adulthood. They include:

  • Emotional outbursts
  • Flashbacks
  • Dissociation
  • Fear of being victimized again
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Memory lapses
  • Difficulty forming bonds in adult relationships
  • Insomnia
  • Nightmares
  • Blaming self for what happened
  • Suicidal thoughts

How is Trauma Treated? 

Trauma can be treated with a variety of methods. Individual therapy helps people speak privately with a therapist trained to help them process the trauma they experienced. Specific types of therapy that help improve the symptoms of all three kinds of trauma include: 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT teaches people the relationship between their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. They identify unhealthy patterns and convert them to positive, more realistic ones. Changing negative assumptions and beliefs to positive ones helps the person overcome the symptoms of trauma. 

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): DBT teaches people to change their perspective about past events and the resulting emotions and behaviors. The individual learns to regulate their emotions, tolerate distress in healthy ways, and become fully present in each moment, rather than disassociate or assume the worst will happen.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR): EMDR consists of a trained therapist directing a person to use specific eye movements while thinking about and discussing the trauma they endured. This method helps people process trauma in a healthy way and greatly minimizes or eliminates their symptoms.

At Montare Behavioral Health of Tucson, Arizona, we offer residential mental health treatment programs that focus on treating these various types of trauma. Each of the therapies listed above are available to those who can benefit most from them. Additionally, we have mental health programs specifically for our veterans.

Contact Our Treatment Center for the Different Types of Trauma in Tucson, Arizona 

At Montare Behavioral Health of Tucson, we understand how experiencing trauma can keep a person from living the full life they deserve. Our therapists are trained to identify symptoms of trauma and provide the right kind of treatment that meets each person’s specific needs. Our full staff of therapists and other mental health professionals uses their experience and compassion to guide people out of trauma and into a healing journey. We use several types of therapy and any necessary prescription medications to minimize symptoms of trauma-based illnesses. We work with each person to change their lives for the better for good.

Are you interested in finding out how our trauma program can help change your life or the life of someone you love? Visit our admissions page now and see how easy it is to get answers to your questions.