Abuse and trauma can have many different faces. It can occur in childhood or during adulthood and can come in the form of rape, violence, a car accident, emotional abuse, a natural disaster, or psychological abuse. Trauma as a result of abuse can be devastating to a person, affecting their ability to integrate into society or function effectively.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) occurs as the result of trauma and its effects can be long term and far reaching. People suffering from trauma and abuse may feel that they have no resources, no way to help them feel better and get healthy. It can be very isolating and result in feelings of low self-worth. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. There are programs that help people who have dealt with events that have left them scarred psychologically.
If you are having thoughts of hurting yourself or others, or you feel that you are in crisis, please go to your nearest emergency room immediately or call 9-1-1.
Sexual Abuse and Trauma
Rape and molestation are the types of sexual abuse and trauma that are probably the most commonly considered, but there are other types of sexual abuse as well. Unwanted touching or kissing, sexual contact when the victim is drugged, drunk, or incapacitated (unable to say no), violent or rough sex that is unwanted, or threatening someone with unwanted sex are all forms of sexual abuse. What’s more, both women and men can be victims and it can happen in opposite sex relationships as well as same sex relationships.
When this abuse occurs repeatedly or over a long period of time it can have damaging effects that negatively impact a person’s life in many areas. It can make it difficult, if not impossible, to live a life that is normal, healthy, and happy – and to have healthy relationships.
Childhood Abuse and Trauma
A 2012 report by the Institute of Medicine’s Board on Neuroscience and Behavioral Health (Committee on Pathophysiology and Prevention of Adolescent and Adult Suicide) explored the correlation between childhood trauma and suicide. While many factors were considered, childhood trauma was determined to be a primary factor in adults and older adolescents who later committed suicide.
Aside from the trauma that comes from the abuse itself, the far reaching effects of childhood abuse sets the individual up for a skewed view of the world and society. As children they do not know that the abuse is not normal, they often believe that they deserve it, and they don’t realize that help is available. This can have long term effects including helplessness, rage, out of control emotions, and low self-esteem that they will carry into adulthood. It can prevent them from having healthy relationships later in life.
Going through an event that is life threatening or traumatic can have serious long term effects such as trouble sleeping, increased jumpiness, or reacting to memories of the event. While this is normal for a brief time after the event, if these effects get worse or don’t go away it may be Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD.
While PTSD is often associated with soldiers who have gone through combat, people who have lived through a disaster, survived an act of violence, or been through a traumatic event like a car accident may also be diagnosed with the disorder. The effects can be so severe that it can make it virtually impossible for the person to function effectively and complete even the most basic life activities.
The Connection between Abuse and Trauma and Addiction
A paper published in 2005 in the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved drew a distinct line between trauma and addiction. “Homeless, Mentally Ill and Addicted: The Need for Abuse and Trauma Services” surveyed homeless individuals who were admitted to an addiction recovery program over a twelve month period. These individuals answered questions about their history and more than 79 percent stated that they had experience sexual and/or physical abuse at some point in their lives.
There were 27 women in the group and all 27 of them (100 percent) reported experiencing a traumatic event that was life altering. Of the men, 35, or nearly 69 percent, reported trauma in their histories. It is believed to some degree that trauma and abuse leads to dysfunctions in a person’s life, such as homelessness, and the depression, lack of self-worth, and other psychological effects can lead to substance abuse and later addiction.
Treatment options for individuals who are suffering from abuse and trauma are available. There are inpatient and outpatient programs which are very effective. The type of program depends on the person and on how severely they have been affected. For those who are severely affected, especially if substance abuse is involved, inpatient treatment is likely the best option.
There are several types of therapy that are used. They may be done separately or several combined. Some of these therapies include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Interpersonal Therapy (IPT), Intensive Family Therapy (IFT), and Dialectic Behavior Therapy (DBT).
CBT – a psychotherapy that is short term and is designed to help the patient learn strategies that address or correct problem behaviors.
IPT – teaches patients vital skills for repairing relationships that have been damaged. It can teach them how to function in their normal relationship roles and how to re-bond with their loved ones as well as restore their social network.
IFT – brings a family together to promote understanding for all family members, including the patient, and help the entire family find healthy coping skills, support each other, and heal.
DBT – incorporates elements of several other therapies to help the patient come to terms with the traumatic event and find positive coping skills. It is a personal building therapy that helps the patient find a way to move on and heal.
Patients may also be encouraged to participate in other forms of therapy including art or music therapy, journaling, hypnosis, and meditation. Each treatment program will have its own structure and patients should review several to find the program that fits them best.
You Deserve to be Healthy and Happy
No matter what your background, you deserve to be healthy and happy. If you are struggling with the effects of abuse and trauma (or you love someone who is) know that there is help available.
At Rehab Reviews we have the world’s largest resource for reviews on rehab programs. This is the only resource you need when searching for alcohol and drug addiction treatment. Visit our site at http://rehabreviews.com and look through one of our comprehensive directories to find a center near you. Many times your health insurance will cover a portion or even all of treatment costs. You can read more about this by accessing our insurance page here http://rehabreviews.com/benefits-check. There is hope for recovering from addiction. If you or a loved one is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction start with us to find the help that you need.