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Trauma Rehab Centers

Rape and Addiction

Rape and AddictionSurviving rape is a traumatic experience that can lead to devastating physical and emotions consequences. Being sexually assaulted is one of the most degrading and violating feelings in the world, and individuals can have a difficult time coping with the pain and emotions that follow. Many victims of rape shut down or close themselves off due to fear, distrust and resentment, but this can lead to further negative effects in the victim’s life.

Consequences of Rape

Extreme isolation may occur after rape, and the individual may try to avoid the issue or any reminders of it. Without treatment or resolution a victim of rape may face additional problems such as the following:

  • Feelings of extreme guilt, shame, fear and self-hatred
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Self-harm or self-injury
  • Eating disorders
  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Sleep disorders
  • Flashbacks
  • Phobias
  • Physical illness in response to memories of the incident
  • Stockholm syndrome, or emotional bonding with the aggressor
  • Emotional dysregulation including extreme sensitivity, anger, hostility or aggression
  • Substance abuse
  • Drug addiction
  • Behavioral addiction

Why Is Addiction a Common Effect of Sexual Assault?

The painful consequences of sexual assault or rape can lead victims to self-medicate. Drugs, alcohol, food and other substances and behaviors can be used as a coping mechanism to provide comfort, temporary relief, escape and distraction. Victims of assault and rape tend to have trouble with future relationships or connecting with others, because they are no longer able to trust. Rape victims may not feel comfortable asking others to help, so they will try other options such as drug abuse first. Individuals come to depend on these substances or behaviors to feel well or even normal, and addiction can develop quickly. While the individual’s goal is to avoid dealing with the traumatic event, substance abuse and addiction will only complicate and magnify the already pressing issue.

Can Rape Be the Cause of Sexual Addiction?

Victims of rape or sexual abuse may develop a sexual addiction, although this isn’t the case for everyone. Sex can be used to self-medicate. The rush, excitement or feelings of pleasure can be used to temporarily relieve or distract the victim from his or her traumatic past. Some individuals may develop sexual addictions, because it makes them feel in control instead of powerless like during the instance of sexual abuse. The inability to trust or develop intimate relationships with others can also contribute to a sexual addiction. While sexual activity and promiscuity may feel good, the feeling is short-lived and the individual is left feeling worse than before.

Getting Treatment Help for Victims of Rape, Trauma and Addiction

If you are struggling with addiction or other symptoms of rape and trauma, please call our toll-free helpline now. Our counselors will listen to your concerns and provide information on treatment that meets your exact recovery needs. Peace, fulfillment and recovery are within your reach, and we can help you find them. Counselors are available 24 hours a day; please call for help now.