PTSD, or other related forms of trauma, develops when an individual is involved in a situation s/he does not have the capacity or skill to deal with. It’s straightforward to suggest that children were not meant to be sexually abused and that PTSD can be a result of that abuse. It’s also just as straightforward to say that in war, individuals are forced to make horrific choices and participate in unconscionable activities. PTSD can develop in that case too. It does so when a person is unsafe and feels helpless. Child abuse, kidnapping, terrorist attacks, war – each can trigger the development of trauma or PTSD.
Everyone responds to trauma similarly. It is normal to feel numb, helpless, frustrated, and/or jumpy after a traumatic experience. However, the healthy response to these events is that the individual feels less and less of these adverse reactions in a relatively short period of time. PTSD is what develops when an individual gets stuck in the symptoms and they begin to worsen instead of getting better.