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Effects of Trauma

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Emotions can be difficult to process, especially when they come up all at once. Not everyone who is raped turns to drugs to escape their emotional turmoil, but it is a common thread in addiction treatment. Victims of childhood sexual abuse or sexual assault may not even realize why they turned to drugs or that the sexual abuse is at the root of their current addiction problems. Some victims work very hard to block the experience and the resulting emotions out of their minds. At first, drugs may provide the mental escape they need. Over time, addiction sets in, and it doesn’t matter why they started – they are hooked. Trauma teaches children to be afraid, and consequently, they can suffer anxiety and other mental health issues. They become pre-programmed to feel out of control and expect the worst in every situation. A similar transition from sexual assault to addiction…

According to the American Journal on Addictions, 75 percent of women who enter treatment programs report having experienced sexual abuse. And according to the Journal of Traumatic Stress, an alarming 90 percent of women who become dependent on alcohol “suffered severe violence at the hands of a parent” or “were sexually abused during childhood.” And there is not only a strong correlation between childhood sexual abuse and addiction, but one exists between later incidences of sexual assault and addiction as well. Sexual abuse in any form can lead to major problems for the victims. Substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, poor coping skills, antisocial behaviour, depression, anxiety, future victimization, low-self esteem and problems in relationships are all a consequence of sexual abuse. Some studies have suggested that people who are victims of sexual abuse may have an increased risk for substance abuse and other forms of addiction such as, food, sex,…