Childhood and Adolescent Trauma: An Overview

There is no single accepted definition of what constitutes a traumatic event. The strictest definition would require the event to meet criteria of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) involving death, serious injury, or threat to the physical integrity of self or others, as well as fear, helplessness, horror, or (for children) disorganized or agitated behavior. However, research has shown that a much wider range of adverse life events, such as neglect, bereavement, bullying, or family dissolution, can lead to the full array of posttraumatic stress symptoms.

Not every upsetting event becomes traumatic. If the individual is able to face and work through the event, it is simply a difficult but productive growth experience. Resiliency and ...

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