Mervin Smucker. Differentiating between two categories of trauma types.

A critical consideration in the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder is whether the traumatic event producing the posttraumatic stress reaction is a Type-1 or Type-2 trauma.  In short, a Type-1 trauma is an unexpected, isolated traumatic event of relatively short duration (such as, a motor vehical accident, a single incident of physical or sexual assault, a natural disaster), that often involves fear of dying during the event itself.  Recovery from a Type-1 traumatic event is often relatively rapid, especially if the trauma victim does not suffer from any kind of permanent or lasting physical injury.  By contrast, a Type-2 trauma is more long-standing in nature and often involves a series of expected, repeated traumas, such as ongoing sexual or physical abuse or torture, that result in a negatively altered schematic view of oneself, others, and the world.  Type-2 traumas often develop into more complex and chronic posttraumatic stress responses that are linked to other psychological disorders, including higher rates of depression, anxiety and panic disorders, eating disorders, substance abuse, chronic relationship difficulties and long-standing personality disturbances evidenced by emotional lability, suicidality, and self-abusive behaviors.

Mervin Smucker