Victims of childhood sexual abuse can experience devastating long-term consequences that require years of treatment. These effects can manifest themselves psychologically as well as physically. This is especially true for individuals who have waited a long time to come forward about their abuse and have not sought treatment. Some of the long-term effects of childhood sexual abuse can include:
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
One of the most common effects of sexual abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can manifest in physical and psychological symptoms. PTSD symptoms can extend from childhood well into adulthood. Individuals with PTSD experience flashbacks or nightmares related to their trauma and can have symptoms such as trouble sleeping, hyperactivity and hypervigilance, withdrawal from loved ones, and avoidance of triggers. PTSD can make it difficult for an individual to cope with the everyday stresses of life and can lead to problems in school and job loss.
Problems with Intimacy and Relationships
Childhood sexual abuse can lead survivors to problems in relationships. Fear of intimacy or an inability to place trust in others can have serious effects on a survivor’s ability to bond with a partner. In addition, survivors of sexual abuse are more likely to be withdrawn and can be afraid to connect with others.
Anxiety and Depression
Depression and anxiety are other common long-term consequencesof abuse. Feelings of shame, guilt, and isolation can lead survivors to feel anxious and depressed. After years of negative thoughts about themselves, survivors may feel worthless and down. Suicidal ideations and actions are not uncommon in survivors of sexual abuse. Generalized anxiety and panic attacks can also arise.
Some survivors of childhood sexual abuse may turn to drugs and alcohol as a form of self-medication. The use of substances can be a way for survivors to cope with traumatic memories and fears. Substances are only a temporary fix and can’t erase the past.
Guilt, shame, and a negative self-image that results from childhood sexual abuse can lead some survivors to suffer from eating disorders. Childhood abuse raises the risk of an individual developing bulimia, anorexia, or a binge-eating disorder.
Consult with a Trusted Attorney
If you or someone you love has been the victim of 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.