Sexual Abuse Trauma
Almost once every minute an American is sexually assaulted. Despite sexual abuse being such a prevalent act, it’s also one of the most under-reported crimes. That’s because many people choose not to report sexual abuse for fear of repercussions or negative responses from friends, family members, or an employer. Even if they aren’t worried about the consequences of talking about their experience, the trauma surrounding what they’ve gone through can make someone who has been the victim of sexual abuse or assault just want to forget and move on.
The problem is, no matter how much you just want to stop thinking about it and get on with your life, sexual abuse can leave a lasting impact on your physical and psychological wellbeing. Fortunately, getting help from a sexual abuse therapist can help you come to terms with what has happened so you can start to heal.
At Blair Wellness Group in Beverly Hills, we understand that opening up and talking about what you’ve experienced can be embarrassing and traumatic for anyone, and it might seem especially difficult to explain your innermost thoughts, feelings, and fears with someone who isn’t a close friend or family member. However, when you put your trust in Dr. Blair at Blair Wellness group, you’ll not only benefit from working with an experienced and renowned licensed clinical psychologist, you’ll receive personalized treatment from someone who truly cares about your health and happiness. If you’d like to speak with her, call Blair Wellness Group to make an appointment.
Understanding Sexual Abuse
There are many different types of sexual abuse, but the one common factor is that all of them involve non-consensual sexual activity. Although it is more commonly experienced by women and girls it’s important to remember that sexual abuse can and does happen to anyone including boys, men, those who are married or single, as well as people of the LGBTQ+ community. Sexual abuse isn’t usually just about sex, rather, it’s often an attempt to exhibit power over others.
Types of Sexual Abuse
When it comes to defining sexual abuse, there are several different terms used to describe varying types of sexual acts committed without consent. Some of these include rape, incest, child molestation, intimate partner sexual assault, same-gender assault, and drug or alcohol facilitated sexual assault. While a victim of abuse may feel very alone in their feelings, it’s important to recognize that sexual abuse is experienced by people of all ages, genders, and sexual orientation. A common assumption is that sexual abuse usually only happens to certain people, but the fact is, it can happen to anyone.
Sexual Abuse Trauma Symptoms
A person who has been the victim of sexual abuse will generally experience distressing physical and psychological symptoms. After all, sexual assault is traumatic and the symptoms that one experiences are a normal reaction to that fear and loss of control.
The following are some of the signs and symptoms that often accompany sexual abuse:
- Changes in mood or behavior
- Persistent sadness
- Low self-esteem
- Avoidance of particular people or places
- Anxiety about engaging in particular activities
- Disturbing thoughts or nightmares
- Increase in drug or alcohol abuse
In addition to the above symptoms, it’s common for someone to develop one or more mental and physical health issues.
Mental Health Disorders
Sexual abuse can have a profound impact on your mental and emotional wellness. It can leave you feeling guilt-ridden — as though you somehow did something to cause the abuse. It also affects your self-worth, confidence, and results in a loss of trust. For these reasons and more, it’s easy to understand why sexual abuse can have a lasting impact on psychological health.
The following are some of the most common mental health disorders linked to sexual abuse:
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental health condition brought on by a traumatic event. Often associated with military combat veterans, a person who has been sexually assaulted may also develop PTSD. Although PTSD symptoms may vary, the most common are flashbacks or nightmares, avoidance of people or places that remind them of the abuse, feeling on high alert or fearful at all times, and ongoing feelings of hopelessness and shame.
The fear and loss of control that one has experienced can leave you feeling scared, ashamed, and alone. This may not only make you feel sad, but it can affect your sleeping and eating patterns and prevent you from feeling joy in doing the things you once loved to do.
The terror and loss of control involved in sexual abuse can cause someone to suffer from severe anxiety well after the experience is over. They may have flashbacks, be afraid to leave their home, and live in a constant state of fear that an attack could happen again.
Sexual Health Issues
Victims of sexual abuse may find it difficult to connect with another person sexually after they have been abused. Even the thought of being touched or hugged may put them on edge. The feelings of fear and loss of trust are understandable, but in the long-term, they can affect your closest personal relationships and ultimately lead to avoidance and isolation.
Physical Health Challenges
The mind and body are closely intertwined in ways that we are only just beginning to understand. We do know that mental and emotional traumas can contribute to physical manifestations. The following are some of the most common physical symptoms reported by sexual abuse victims.
- Frequent headaches
- Chronic pain
- Stomach disorders
- Cardiac issues
Treatment For Sexual Abuse Trauma
Recovering from sexual abuse takes time and the healing process can be painful. Despite feeling as though you’ll never be the same or that you’ll never be able to trust again, it’s important to remember that the mind and body are incredibly resilient and you will heal. It won’t happen overnight, but with the help of sexual abuse therapist, you’ll regain your sense of control, rebuild your self-worth, and finally feel like yourself again.
If you’re looking for a sexual abuse therapist in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Santa Monica, or the surrounding area, we encourage you to reach out to us at 310.999.4996 to make an appointment at Blair Wellness Group.
Our Core Values
At Blair Wellness Group, we are here to meet your clinical needs at any time.
We support our clients to reach their goals and objectives through maintaining an adaptive lifestyle.
With more than 15 years of experience in providing psychological services, we are confident in our expertise.
Professional Team Support
We are dedicated to our client’s wellbeing. Our team has the extensive training to provide quality care for all of our clients.