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Trauma Rehab Centers

PTSD Resulting from Sexual Trauma

PTSD Resulting from Sexual TraumaSexual abuse is one of the most traumatic experiences a human being can endure. Because of built-in coping mechanisms, many people are able to push away their feelings of fright and guilt, thereby convincing themselves that they have moved past the tragedy. The truth is that such an experience, if not faced and healed, will resurface unpredictably in the victim’s life, often as post-traumatic stress disorder.

Why Sexual Abuse Victims Hesitate to Seek Treatment

The sense of shame and ostracism inherent in sexual abuse prevents most victims from revealing their experience even to those they trust most, for fear of being blamed for the incident, not believed, or not fully understood. Much sexual abuse is perpetrated by caregivers or other close, trusted individuals; victims are often young and extremely trusting. They do not have the self-defense skills or the life experience to even begin to process what has happened to them, much less to talk about it. Instead they experience many of the following symptoms:

  • Aches and pains with no identifiable cause
  • Fear of being alone (especially with the perpetrator or anyone resembling him)
  • Night terrors
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Panic attacks
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sudden personality shifts (usually toward violence, depression, or extreme shyness)
  • Inability to trust or form more than surface-level relationships
  • Compulsive promiscuity
  • An obsessive need for control
  • Disdain for one’s body
  • A defeated attitude
  • Abysmal self-confidence
  • Lack of ambition or drive
  • Substance abuse

The more repeatedly one is assaulted, the more likely he is to develop PTSD.

How Sexual Abuse-Related PTSD Can Be Treated

Helpful therapy can be found at a treatment center where specialists are trained to uncover the roots of mental distress, branching out to treat the other areas of the patient’s life. Therapy methods include the following:

  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), which incorporates the use of moving light to give the patient something to focus on as he recounts his experience, helping him to process details more easily than he would in a face-to-face conversation
  • Massage therapy, which relaxes physical stress and teaches the patient to do the same
  • Dance lessons, physical training, self-defense classes, or other body-centric disciplines which help the patient to appreciate and wield his body instead of disdaining it as a worthless, violated part of himself
  • Group sessions under the guidance of a sexual trauma therapist, which help sexual abuse survivors build solidarity and learn from each other’s healing processes

PTSD recovery is possible, even if what caused it was something as horrific as sexual crime. The victim will probably never forget the incident, but with loving care, he can make peace with it.

Help for PTSD that Stems from Sexual Trauma

If your loved one has suffered sexual assault, if his behavior has changed uncharacteristically to fit the signs listed above, or if you have been sexually abused and you don’t know whom to tell, our toll-free helpline is here for you. We are available 24 hours a day because we want to help you find the restorative therapy you need. Please call us today.