Types of Childhood Trauma
During childhood, children are exposed to stressful experiences. But some children are more successful at dealing with traumatic experiences, which have lasting effects. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry explains that two types of trauma can affect children: one-episode psychic trauma and repeated trauma.
With one-episode psychic trauma, the traumatic event only occurs once in the child's life, such as a death of a loved one. Experiencing one traumatic event can seriously affect the child, resulting in Type I post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The child can have problems sleeping at night and may have nightmares. The child may become pessimistic and hypervigilant. Visual hallucinations can occur, in which the child re-experiences the traumatic event.
If a child experiences repeated trauma, the trauma occurs multiple times, such as with sexual abuse. Children who deal with repeated trauma can have Type II PTSD. Those with Type II PTSD have the same symptoms as patients with Type I PTSD, as well sickening anticipation of the reoccurring trauma. Repeated trauma can lead to emotional numbness, in which the child becomes emotionally detached and develops emotional problems, such as sadness and anger.