In assessing trauma, one must distinguish between two meanings of the word trauma. Considerable confusion is created because the same word carries two different meanings. For example, take witnessing and facing the risk of death and serious injury in a combat situation. When we use the term combat trauma, it can refer either to the event itself, or to the adverse psychological consequences of that event on a particular individual. Research evidence clearly indicates that exposure to a particular type of traumatic event, such as combat, does not have lasting traumatic sequelae for all individuals who experience it; actually, for most types of traumatic events, the majority of exposed individuals will not manifest posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or any other ongoing disabling psychological effects.

Furthermore, although ...

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