In today’s world, it seems like reports of sexual abuse are everywhere. Given the recent headlines, it would be easy to think that sexual abuse is on the rise. Unfortunately, those of us in the mental health profession know that sexual abuse has been a painful reality for far too many people for far too long. Current estimates are that at least 25% of women and as many as 10% of men have experienced sexual abuse at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, because many people are reluctant to report sexual assault, these numbers may underestimate the true impact of the abuse.
At New Dimensions, we are dedicated to helping people heal from the wounds of trauma, including those caused by sexual abuse. Individuals that have survived sexual abuse often struggle with feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt, depression, and anxiety. They may have frequent nightmares or become emotionally numb and disconnected from those around them. The effects of sexual abuse can have a lasting impact, especially when the abuse begins in childhood. Some of the common symptoms that survivors of childhood sexual abuse may exhibit are:
- Feeling dirty.
- Feeling damaged.
- Feeling like they are different.
- Feeling afraid of being alone in the dark.
- Having a swallowing or gagging sensitivity.
- Feeling alienated from their own body.
- Eating Disorders.
- Substance Abuse.
- Self-destructive behavior, including cutting.
- Feeling the need to be invisible, perfect, or perfectly bad.
- Blocking out of memories, especially in years 12 or younger.
- Trust issues, including having the inability to trust or trusting those they shouldn’t trust.
- Feeling crazy.
- Feeling anger at their own body.
- Crying during or after sex.
- Sexual dysfunction or sexual acting out.
- Feeling depressed and anxious.
- Having boundary issues.
- Difficulty maintaining intimate relationships.
If you or someone you know is a survivor of sexual abuse, these symptoms may be familiar to you. While some people may have many or most of these symptoms, others may have very few. The point to remember is that sexual abuse trauma can have a significant impact on a person’s sense of well-being and can lead to a variety of mental health and substance abuse issues. Fortunately, with help, survivors can overcome the impacts of the trauma and learn to live healthy and happy lives. Abuse does not have to define who you are or who you will become. If you have experienced sexual abuse and continue to suffer from the side effects of the trauma, we encourage you to get help and support.
New Dimensions Can Help!
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the above symptoms or problems, New Dimensions can help. Our team of experienced therapists and psychiatrists can help you overcome these challenges and help you develop the skills you need to thrive. To schedule a complementary assessment or to find out more about our programs, contact us at 1-800-685-9796.
Our affiliate, MHThrive, provides Individual Therapy, Couples and Marriage Counseling, and Family Therapy at our locations in Katy, The Woodlands, and the Clear Lake area of Houston, Texas. We also provide telehealth therapy for anyone who resides within the State of Texas. To schedule an appointment with one of the MHThrive therapists, contact us at 713-477-0333 or visit www.mhthrive.com to learn more.