Psychological Effects in Woman Sexually Abused as a Child

April 13, 2018 Health

Psychological Effects in Woman Sexually Abused As a Child One single devastating act of sexual abuse can severely disrupt the mental health in a woman’s life. Additionally the impact can be severe enough to cause psychological damage that develops into mental illness. Most people are uneducated about psychological damage that sexual abuse, as a child can have on a woman. With gaps in my own understanding, I welcome wisdom to shed some light in a dark area. There are no predetermined feelings or responses that can be anticipated after sexual abuse.

In fact, these feelings demonstrate how uncomfortable sexual abuse makes a woman feel inside. Examples of some commonly experienced feelings are; guilty, powerless, isolated, untrusting, inadequate, socially inapt, and feeling inferior to others. Of course unhealthy, emotional states progress into mental illness. Spelman, C. (1993). Suicide is the third leading cause of death in woman ages 15-24. Chemical imbalances are consequently due to the brain producing less serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical produced in the brain that makes you happy.

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For instance low serotonin levels cause depression to set in or worsen pre existing depression. Psychologists cluster symptoms into categories then sub divide them with related psychological disorders. Therefore, cluster B: regards personality disorders that portray dramatic, emotional, and erotic behaviors Fogarty Migon, (2008) Avoidance personality disorder is a combination of childhood sexual abuse, biological, and economic factors. Avoidance personality brings a strong desire to have relationships, but the fear of rejection prevents starting any.

Women feel inferior to others and inadequate in social situations. If it is certain others like the woman, this is an exception for socializing. In addition, new activities are avoided, because they are afraid of being embarrassed. Posttraumatic stress syndrome (PTSS) is a classic diagnosis’s of sexually abused children. It is believed that 50% of women who, have been sexually abused, as a child are affected by PTSS. Posttraumatic stress syndrome is characterized by depression, anxiety, flashbacks, recurrent nightmares, and avoidance of reminders that resemble the traumatic event.

The symptoms a woman experiences can vary from having one or all of them. Below is a brief description of the symptoms. * Depression is a feeling of great sadness, loss of interest in things that normally are important, isolating themselves, oversleeping, lack of sleep, loss of concentration, suicidal thoughts. Depression is a very common trait among many other psychological disorders. Of all disorders women are most likely to suffer from depression at some time in life if not chronically. * Anxiety is uneasiness in the mind.

Fearing or anticipating an event that is not preventable. Anxiety can cause physical symptoms like sweating, rapid heartbeat, tightness in the chest, and tension. It is psychological in nature, but to the person experiencing the symptoms it’ feels very real. * Flashbacks are when the event replays repeatedly in the mind. Usually an event; triggers the flashback to occur. A detail from the traumatic event; such as a color can trigger a flash back. * Nightmares consist of a frightening experience while dreaming. The individual usually wakes abruptly, scared and panicked.

Some nightmares can be so realistic, that one does not realize; it was a dream until they wake. Often the nightmare is a recall of a traumatic event. *Suicidal tendencies are the thoughts of themselves being better off dead. They lose the will to life and the thought, of all the pain seems like too much. It seems like the only solution to end the pain and problems. Vanderbilt, H. , (February 1992) an unknown number of sexual abuse cases go unreported. “A national study showed that 35% of children under the age of 18 have been victims of sexual abuse”.

Often a child believes that telling anyone about the abuse will only make the situation worse. At this time, the child begins to suppress their uncomfortable feelings to help cope and continue to function. Vanderbilt, H. , (February 1992) Say’s the most common type of sexual abuse is incest. Meaning a close family member or relative, of the child is responsible for the immoral act. This particular type of sexual abuse usually is recurrent. Four out of five sexual abuse incidences; are committed, by a trusted friend or family member. Strangers account for less than 20% of sexual abuse cases.

Cases involving strangers are lower because the child usually does not survive the incident. Ellen Bass (&) Laura Davis, (2008) say “it’s possible to be a victim of sexual abuse without knowing or remembering it. This coping mechanism completely blocks out the memory and prevents the conscience mind to remember. Even without the memory the unconscious mind responds; by sending uncomfortable feelings to the mind”. Addressing sexual abuse during childhood is most efficient, because emotional trauma can be patched and prevent problems from transitioning into a mental illness.

Individuality begins to takes place during adolescence and here their identity and beliefs form. The range of problems a woman may have begins to show the disturbances during this stage. Below are symptoms commonly seen in sexually abused women. * Posttraumatic stress syndrome (PTSS) is most common diagnosis’s from sexually abused children. It is stated that 50% of women who, have been sexually violated, as a child are affected by PTSS is characterized by depression, anxiety, flashbacks, recurrent nightmares, and avoidance of reminders that resemble the traumatic event.

The symptoms can include one or all of them. Some women are affected more severely and the symptoms are intensified; causing disruption in their daily life. * Depression is a feeling of great sadness, loss of interest in things that normally are important, isolating themselves, oversleeping, lack of sleep, loss of concentration, suicidal thoughts. Depression is a very common trait among many other psychological disorders. Of all disorders women are most likely to suffer from depression at some time in life if not chronically. * Anxiety is uneasiness in the mind.

Fearing or anticipating an event that cannot be prevented. Anxiety can cause physical symptoms such as sweating, rapid heartbeat, tightness in the chest, and tension. It is psychological in nature, but to the person experiencing the symptoms it is very real. *Flashbacks are when the event replays repeatedly in the mind. Usually an event triggers the flashback to occur. A detail from the traumatic event such as a color can trigger a flash back. * Nightmares consist of a frightening experience while dreaming. The individual usually wakes abruptly, scared and panicked.

Some nightmares can be so realistic, that one does not realize it was a dream until they wake. Often the nightmare is a recall of a traumatic event. *Suicidal tendencies are the thoughts of themselves being better off dead. They lose the will to life and the thought, of all the pain seems like too much. It seems like the only solution to end the pain and problems. There are plenty of organizations dedicate to helping people during their time of need. These organizations have fundraisers and take donations to help people that cannot afford it.

Please realize that there are always options and you are not alone. No matter what your situation is there is help available. Included at the end is a list of phone numbers; of centers who are dedicated, to different needs. Healing strengthens the heart, mind, soul and while softening the heart, it has enabled many women, to move forward in life. It is clear that sexual abuse has a damaging effect that can be long lasting. Many consequences can result and it is not predictable to say what may happen. The guidance of a professional to help abuse victims begin to heal is worth it.

Sometimes undesired events occur and we have no options, but to live with the results. Seeing the positive nature in our human qualities makes life tolerable and worthwhile. Keep determined and strong willed; remember nothing can prevent success that has been in the making. Wounds can leave scars and emotional wounds may seem invisible, but outward sign indicate different. Scars remind us that we have passed through a painful situation and are stronger for doing so. Life can beat you down but, one thing life cannot bring down is a strong will to survive.

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