Traumatic events during our life can create significant distress and negatively impact our mental health in a number of ways. Trauma informs so much of our world view. Depression, anxiety and addiction are often rooted in trauma. There are an unprecedented number of resources for people struggling with trauma-related concerns, and psychiatry plays an important role in dealing with trauma.

Traumatic experiences can deeply affect our mental health and well-being. These experiences range from single, life-altering events to ongoing, complex situations that leave lasting scars. There are three types types of trauma I’d like to touch on: PTSD, CPTSD, and childhood trauma.


Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can be traced back to a single event, such as an experience while at war, a fire or car accident, or an episode of physical or sexual abuse. PTSD encompasses the intense psychological distress that follows the memory of these events, including flashbacks, severe anxiety, and uncontrollable thoughts about the trauma.


Complex PTSD (CPTSD) develops in response to prolonged, repeated trauma, often occurring in situations of emotional abuse, continuous exposure to domestic violence, long-term neglect, or repeated physical or sexual abuse. Unlike PTSD, which can stem from a single incident, CPTSD results from sustained, repetitive trauma, leading to more complex symptoms such as difficulty in emotional regulation, persistent feelings of shame or guilt, and complex relational issues.

Childhood Trauma

Childhood trauma can be devastating, as this is a time in our lives where we form core beliefs about ourselves and the world. “I am not lovable, “I am broken”, “I’m not good enough”, “The world is not safe” are common beliefs we internalize as children based on our experiences and carry into our adult lives. These internalized beliefs can show up as depression, anger, anxiety, addiction and a number of other maladaptive behaviors.

Dealing with trauma can be a difficult process and requires trained professionals to manage the painful recollection of traumatic events, understanding those events and how they affect our beliefs about ourselves and the world around us, and how to work to release the grip that these past traumatic events have on us. But with this difficult work, along with an understanding of how we chose to cope with these feelings, is the first step in healing these wounds.