Psychological trauma is a type of damage to the mind that occurs as a result of a severely distressing event. Trauma is often the result of an overwhelming amount of stress that exceeds one's ability to cope, or integrate the emotions involved with that experience. A traumatic event involves one's experience, or repeating events of being overwhelmed that can be precipitated in weeks, years, or even decades as the person struggles to cope with the immediate circumstances, eventually leading to serious, long-term negative consequences.
However, trauma differs between individuals, according to their subjective experiences. People will react to similar events differently. In other words, not all people who experience a potentially traumatic event will actually become psychologically traumatized. However, it is possible to develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after being exposed to a potentially traumatic event. This discrepancy in risk rate can be attributed to protective factors some individuals may have that enable them to cope with trauma; they are related to temperamental and environmental factors. Some examples are mild exposure to stress early in life, resilience characteristics, and active seeking of help.
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