What Are The 13 Types Of Childhood Trauma And Why You Should Know It

Childhood Trauma

Childhood trauma can have lasting effects on mental health. Understanding the 13 types of trauma is essential to recognize their impact and seeking recovery. This blog will explore each type of trauma and its potential consequences on adult life. By raising awareness about childhood trauma, we can help break the cycle of generational trauma and promote healing and resilience. Whether you’ve experienced trauma or are looking to support someone who has, this blog will provide valuable insights into the different types of childhood trauma and their significance.

childhood trauma adulthood
Source: Roots Through Recovery

13 Types of Childhood Trauma

Children can experience various forms of trauma throughout their lives. These traumatic experiences can have a lasting impact on mental health, with some types of trauma having a more severe effect than others. Here are the 13 most common types of childhood trauma:

Physical Abuse

This is a type of trauma involving physical force, resulting in injury or harm. This can include hitting, slapping, punching, or burning a child, among other forms of physical violence. Children who experience physical abuse may develop physical and emotional symptoms, such as bruises, anxiety, or depression. Physical abuse can sometimes lead to lasting physical and mental health problems later in life, such as chronic pain or PTSD. Understanding the signs and consequences of physical abuse is crucial to breaking the cycle of violence and promoting healing.

Natural Disaster

Hurricanes, earthquakes, and floods are all examples of natural disasters that can cause children to experience trauma. Natural disasters often leave physical damage and destruction in their wake and can result in death or injury. Exposure to a natural disaster can lead to feelings of fear, helplessness, or terror in children, leaving them with long-term stress and anxiety. Adults need to provide support and comfort to children after a natural disaster, helping them process the trauma safely.

early childhood trauma in adults
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Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse is a type of trauma that involves any form of sexual contact without consent. This can include touching, showing pornography, or forcing someone into sexual acts. Children who experience sexual abuse may develop physical symptoms such as difficulty sleeping and emotional symptoms such as anxiety or depression. It is essential to recognize the signs of sexual abuse and take action to protect children from further harm.

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is a type of trauma that involves non-physical forms of aggression. Examples of emotional abuse can include name-calling, humiliation, intimidation, manipulation, or criticizing a child. This type of trauma can have long-term consequences on mental health, such as low self-esteem, lack of trust in others, and difficulty forming relationships.


Neglect is a form of abuse involving intentional or unintentional deprivation of basic needs. This can include physical neglect (lack of food, clothing, or shelter) or emotional neglect (lack of affection and support). Children who experience neglect can develop physical and psychological symptoms, such as malnutrition or depression. It is critical to recognize the signs of neglect and take action to ensure that children are provided with basic needs to prevent long-term harm.


Children who live in areas affected by war often experience trauma due to constant exposure to violence and death. This can lead to physical symptoms such as fear or nightmares and psychological problems such as severe PTSD. Some war victims may also suffer from long-term depression or anxiety, impairing daily functioning.

acute childhood trauma
Source: Roots Through Recovery


Bullying is a type of trauma that involves repeated verbal or physical aggression by one person toward another. Victims of bullying can experience physical symptoms such as bruises and emotional problems such as anxiety and low self-esteem. Adults must recognize the signs of bullying and intervene to ensure children are safe.

Witnessing a death, suicide, or murder

One of the most devastating forms of trauma a child can experience is witnessing the death, suicide, or murder of another person. This type of traumatic event can leave children with intense feelings of fear and helplessness. They may also develop symptoms such as nightmares, flashbacks, and depression. According to the American Psychological Association, most children who witness such gruesome scenes often experience strong reactions, including disbelief, anger, helplessness, grief, and fear.


Another type of trauma is the experience of being kidnapped or abducted by a stranger. This can cause children extreme fear and anxiety, leaving them helpless and alone. Children who have been abducted often suffer from PTSD, depression, and difficulty trusting others. Providing support and comfort to these children as they recover from the traumatic event is important.


Aside from adults, children can also experience trauma due to sexual abuse from a family member. Incest often involves physical and emotional manipulation by a close relative, such as a parent or sibling. This type of trauma can have long-term effects on the child’s mental health, including difficulty forming relationships and depression. Incest is a severe form of abuse, and it is essential to recognize the signs to provide support and protection for the victim.

symptoms of childhood trauma in adulthood
Source: Pexels.com

Hostage Situations

Hostage is another type of trauma experienced by children. This can involve a child being held in an unfamiliar place against their will, often accompanied by violence and threats. Children who experience this type of trauma may develop symptoms such as fear, confusion, and depression. Providing support and comfort to these children is vital to help them recover from the traumatic event.


One of the most common types of trauma experienced by children today is witnessing or being involved in a shooting. This can often be accompanied by extreme fear, anxiety, and physical symptoms such as loss of appetite or difficulty sleeping. School shootings are becoming increasingly common, and parents and teachers should know the potential effects on children.


According to the data from the UN, millions of children are exploited annually for various reasons, including labor and sex trafficking. These forms of exploitation can have a significant impact on the emotional and physical health of the child. Victims of exploitation often experience feelings such as fear, anxiety, guilt, shame, and depression. Exploitation happens worldwide and is a form of trauma that must be addressed.


Children should be able to live a life free of trauma and violence. However, unfortunately, this is not always the case. It is essential to be aware of the various childhood traumas and their potential effects on children to provide support and protection. If you believe a child may be suffering from trauma, seeking medical help as soon as possible is essential. At Roots Recovery, we offer therapy solutions and counseling for children and adults who have experienced trauma. If you or someone you know needs help, please don’t hesitate to contact us today. We are here to listen and provide the necessary support to start living a healthier life. Our therapists will work with you every step of the way to promote healing and peace of mind.

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