Trauma is an individual experience. Derived from the ancient Greek for wound, a traumatic experience is any experience leaving a lasting psychological mark on a person. What makes an experience traumatic is completely within the eye of the beholder. Some people survive accidents physically and mentally unscathed, while others grapple for years with a feeling of terror. The factors influencing trauma disorders are largely external, but trauma can be genetic. Some teens are more prone to developing trauma disorders than others.
Some experiences are universally harrowing, such as experiences of sexual assault, natural disasters, and war – and these leave a mark on any of us. But the degree to which trauma can affect a person is also very individual, with different symptoms and ways of coping. It’s estimated about 40 percent of children and adolescents will or have experienced a traumatic event in their lifetime, but only a portion of people develop trauma disorders as a result.