Health and Disease

The Relationship Between Traumatic Events And The Growth Of Individuals

This article will delve deeper into topics regarding individual trauma and how that can affect one’s perspective. Furthermore this article will explore the different types of trauma and in depth research regarding brain development.

Trauma can be employed from a variety of situations. It has dissimilar impacts on different people. It changes how a person thinks, how they react to certain events, and eventually changes their behavior. This research paper will cover how traumatic events can influence one’s growth and response.


Individual trauma is precipitated by an event, series of events, or set of circumstances that an individual perceives as physically or emotionally harmful or threatening, and that can have long-term negative effects on the individual’s functioning and physical, social, and emotional well-being. (1). Trauma can manifest itself in a variety of contexts. Home life, school, the workplace, etc. “Whether an event is deemed traumatic is defined by the ‘subjective experience’ of it rather than the event itself.” (2) Trauma is classified into 2 types: Type 1 and Type 2, and three subcategories: acute, chronic, and complex.

Types of Trauma

Type 1: 

According to The Trauma Practice, traumas of Type 1 are those that occur in a single episode and are unanticipated and unplanned. Acute trauma, shock, or big T trauma are some names for them. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a disorder associated with big T trauma or Type 1 trauma. Type 1 trauma examples could include: 

  • severe damage or illness 
  • violent assault 
  • Sexual abuse 
  • heartbreaking loss 
  • Robbery or muggery 
  • having experienced or witnessed violence 
  • experiencing a terrorist assault 
  • being present during a natural calamity 
  • road incident 
  • military conflict event 
  • Hospitalisation 
  • Psychiatric inpatient care 
  • Childbirth 
  • medical injury 
  • trauma after a suicide attempt 
  • life-threatening condition or finding

Type 2: 

Complex trauma refers to trauma that may have occurred during infancy or the early stages of development. Repetitive trauma is trauma that has occurred repeatedly over time and is frequently connected to interpersonal relationships, where a person may feel physically or emotionally confined. They can also think they were forced to suffer the trauma or that they had no control over it. Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a condition associated with type 2 trauma. Type 2 trauma examples include: 

  • family violence 
  • emotional maltreatment in childhood 
  • Domestic abuse 
  • Neglect of the emotions and attachment damage 
  • Abandonment 
  • abusive language 
  • Coercion 
  • Physical abuse in the home 
  • long-term failure to diagnose a health issue 
  • bullying that occurs at home, at school, or at work 
  • Sexual assault 
  • psychological abuse 
  • physical abuse


  • The effect of a single event is acute trauma. 
  • Trauma that is chronic is recurring and lasts a long time, like domestic abuse or violence. 
  • Exposure to several and numerous traumatic situations, frequently of an intrusive, interpersonal kind, is known as complex trauma.

Historical, collective, or intergenerational trauma

This trauma is distinguished by psychological or emotional difficulties that can affect various communities, cultural groups, and generations. Adaptive coping strategies can be passed down through generations. Here are some examples: 

  • Racism 
  • Slavery 
  • Removal from a family or community by force 
  • Genocide 

War Trauma or Secondary Trauma 

This type of trauma can occur when someone speaks to someone who has personally experienced or witnessed a trauma. The person listening may experience secondary trauma as well as symptoms similar to those described by the person explaining the trauma. 

Little “t” adversiTy

Little t trauma is less visible and discussed less frequently. Little t traumas are everyday occurrences that are accepted as a normal part of life. They can, however, be extremely traumatic. Possible examples include: 

  • The death of a loved one (not traumatic bereavement) 
  • Relocating to a new home 
  • Loss of employment

Brain Development

The amygdala, hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex have all been linked to the stress response. Traumatic stress has been linked to long-term changes in these brain areas. Following traumatic stress, there is an increase in cortisol and norepinephrine responses to subsequent stressors. Antidepressants have hippocampus-protective effects that offset the effects of stress. Animal studies revealed smaller hippocampal and anterior cingulate volumes, increased amygdala function, and decreased medial prefrontal/anterior cingulate function in patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Furthermore, patients with PTSD have elevated cortisol and norepinephrine responses to stress. The long-term activation of the stress response system and the subsequent overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones can affect nearly all of your body’s systems. These heightened cortisol and norepinephrine responses to stress can be noticed. Norepinephrine functions as a neurotransmitter in your brain and spinal cord to: Boost alertness, arousal, and attention. Constricts blood vessels, which helps maintain blood pressure in times of stress. Treatments that are effective for PTSD promote neurogenesis in animal studies, as well as memory enhancement and increased hippocampal volume in PTSD.(3). According to NIH: Traumatic stress: effects on the brain, they explain how traumatic stressors, such as early trauma, can result in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which affects approximately 8% of Americans at some point in their lives. 

Children are especially vulnerable to trauma due to their rapidly developing brains, according to research. A child’s brain is stressed during traumatic experiences, and fear-related hormones are activated. Although stress is a normal part of life, when a child is subjected to chronic trauma, such as abuse or neglect, his or her brain remains in this heightened pattern. In order to maintain and promote survival, the child’s emotional, behavioral, and cognitive functioning may change while in this heightened state. These traumatic experiences can have a long-term effect on a child’s behavior, emotional development, mental and physical health. (2).

The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACEs) highlights the long-term effects of trauma on physical and mental health. The study employs that to assess the total amount of stress during childhood, the ACE score, which is a total count of the number of adverse childhood experiences reported by respondents. The greater the number of ACEs, the greater the risk of developing problems such as alcoholism, depression, multiple sexual partners, suicide attempts, smoking, and liver disease later in life, among other negative health issues.


  1. Early Connections: Trauma Informed care- 
  2. The Trauma Practice: Types of trauma- 
  3. NIH: Traumatic stress: effects on the brain- 


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