Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Rape And Sexual Abuse

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Rape And Sexual Abuse



The estimated risk for rape survivors developing post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is​ 49%. the​ risk for those beaten or​ experiencing physical assault is​ 31.9%,​ whilst the​ risk for others who experienced sexual assault is​ 23.7%. Given these figures,​ it​ is​ no wonder women are more likely to​ develop PTSD than men,​ as​ they are statistically significantly more likely to​ experience sexual assault.

Post traumatic stress disorder is​ characterized by intense fear,​ a​ sense of​ helplessness,​ or​ horror. it​ can affect all areas of​ a​ person's life,​ their emotions,​ mental wellbeing,​ and physical health. And symptoms are generally worse in​ situations,​ like rape and abuse,​ where the​ trauma was deliberately initiated against those involved.

A person with post traumatic stress disorder may re-live the​ traumatic events,​ having flashbacks or​ other reminders and images that intrude on​ their waking hours,​ or​ in​ dreams and nightmares. These reminders may also trigger physical symptoms,​ such as​ heart palpitations or​ chills. or​ emotional problems,​ like anxiety,​ depression,​ and dread.

People with post traumatic stress disorder may avoid any reminders of​ the​ trauma,​ whether that is​ people associated with the​ experience,​ or​ places,​ or​ even thoughts of​ the​ trauma. They can distance themselves from family and friends,​ and withdraw from everyday activities and things they used to​ enjoy.

Relationship problems are common for survivors of​ rape and sexual abuse. Some survivors avoid intimacy,​ others avoid sex,​ and some avoid both,​ and create patterns in​ their lives where those coping mechanisms are maintained. But sufferers of​ PTSD who did not experience any sexual abuse can also have problems in​ their relationships,​ or​ in​ social situations.

Another characteristic of​ post traumatic stress disorder is​ being on​ guard all the​ time,​ and suddenly feeling anger or​ irritability. There can be problems with sleeping and concentrating,​ and sufferers may be startled easily. Self destructive behaviours,​ such as​ gambling,​ risky sex,​ drug use,​ alcohol abuse,​ or​ other problems like dangerous driving,​ may be present. Depression,​ disassociation,​ or​ other mental health problems can develop.

Not all of​ these characteristics may be present in​ PTSD,​ and the​ degree to​ which one experiences them may vary also. And PTSD may not develop until months or​ years after the​ trauma. Particularly in​ relation to​ abuse in​ childhood,​ symptoms of​ PTSD can pass,​ then reappear later in​ life. This can make it​ difficult to​ recognize when PTSD is​ occurring,​ as​ survivors may not associate their current feeling and behaviours with pas events.

Each time symptoms appear,​ however,​ they provide an​ opportunity for healing. Post traumatic stress disorder can be treated,​ using a​ combination of​ medication and psychotherapy.

Whilst medications were not thought to​ help in​ the​ treatment of​ PTSD in​ the​ past,​ they have been found to​ be beneficial now,​ probably due to​ newer ones being available. the​ SSRI's (selective serotonin uptake inhibitors) zoloft and paxil are both approved by the​ FDA for treating PTSD. And newer antidepressants like effexor and serzone are also beneficial,​ and tend to​ be used when the​ patient does not tolerate paxil and zoloft,​ or​ those medications aren't effective.

There are 3 types of​ psychotherapy that can be used to​ treat PTSD. These are exposure management,​ cognitive therapy,​ and anxiety management. a​ combination of​ all 3 may be used,​ or​ one individually. Each person is​ different in​ what they will respond to.

In exposure therapy,​ patients confront,​ in​ a​ safe therapeutic environment,​ the​ situations,​ people,​ and memories associated with the​ trauma. People with PTSD usually avoid this very thing,​ but by working through the​ trauma in​ this way,​ exposure therapy is​ actually very effective at​ healing PTSD.

Cognitive therapy helps in​ the​ process of​ understanding how our thoughts affect our feelings,​ and provides ways of​ shifting negative thinking. Negative thinking can perpetuate a​ mental prison where joy and interconnectedness is​ no longer felt. Changing those dynamics can provide a​ new framework with which to​ process the​ trauma,​ and allow healing to​ occur.

In anxiety management,​ skills are learnt that help one cope better with the​ symptoms and triggers of​ post traumatic stress disorder. They can help reduce the​ intensity of​ the​ symptoms,​ though they need to​ be practised to​ be effective. Anxiety management techniques can be very helpful in​ controlling anxiety whilst doing exposure therapy. Some techniques used include relaxation,​ breathing techniques,​ assertiveness training,​ and positive thinking and self talk.



References:
1. ptsdalliance.org/about_what.html
2. ptsd.factsforhealth.org/whatmeds.html
3. nimh.nih.gov/publicat/anxiety.cfm




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