Survivors of childhood sexual abuse often suffer long-term consequences from their abuse. Sexual abuse is highly damaging and results in many survivors suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
What is PTSD?
PTSD is a mental health disorder that is triggered by a traumatic or terrifying event. It was first seen in veterans of war and was known as “shell shock.” Many people still associate PTSD with the effects of wartime conditions, but it can also manifest as a result of other traumatic situations such as sexual assault, natural disasters, accidents, and physical assaults. Prolonged traumatic experiences such as years of sexual abuse can also lead to PTSD. PTSD is a stress disorder that can affect the nervous system, endocrine system, and immune system. People who have PTSD may feel stressed or frightened even when they are not experiencing a dangerous event.
Symptoms of PTSD
PTSD can be difficult to identify, especially when it is happening to you. PTSD can manifest in both physical and psychological symptoms including:
- Flashbacks and nightmares that cause the person to re-experience the trauma
- Emotional numbness
- Avoidance of people, places, and activities that can be reminders of the trauma
- Difficulty sleeping and concentrating
- Being easily irritated and jumpy
- Physiological reactions to reminders of the traumatic events
- Hyperarousal—always being alert and vigilant, looking for potential danger
- Loss of a sense of enjoyment in activities you usually like
- Feelings of guilt or blame over what happened
Effects of PTSD
Without proper treatment and management, PTSD can have a lasting impact on someone’s life. The effects of PTSD can include:
- Social isolation
- Extreme difficulty in personal relationships
- Financial difficulties
- Inability to work
- Substance abuse
- Eating disorders
- Depression and anxiety
- Inability to function
- Suicidal ideations or actions
The main treatments for people with PTSD are long-term psychotherapy and psychiatric medications. Various therapy techniques, along with the use of medication, can help reduce some of the symptoms that people experience. But these treatments and therapies cost money and survivors of childhood sexual abuse should be able to seek compensation from their abusers and those who enabled the abusers.
Contact a Trusted and Experienced Attorney
If you suffer from PTSD as the result of childhood sexual abuse, it is important that you consult with an experienced and trusted attorney as soon as possible. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we have over 50 years of experience helping injured New Yorkers, and we want to help you. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Se habla español.