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Some Common Symptoms of Sexual Abuse

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Linda Melrose, Ph.D. Sexual Abuse – May 1991 – Angels by Grace Publication – July 1997

POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER

INTRUSIVE SYMPTOMS: Nightmares, Flashbacks, Obsessive thoughts, Intrusive thoughts.

AVOIDANCE SYMPTOMS: Dissociation, Avoidance of situations that remind survivor of the abuse, amnesia.

AUTONOMOMIC SYMPTOMS: Muscle tension, headaches, hyperactivity, bladder infections, vaginal infections, sore throats.

AFFECTIVE SYMPTOMS: Depression, rage, anxiety, numbness.

SELF DESTRUCTIVE SYMPTOMS: Drug or alcohol abuse, eating disorder, compulsive behaviors, self mutilation, suicide attempts.

SOME COMMON EFFECTS OF SEXUAL ABUSE : WAYS OF COPING

Lack of effect                                    Flashbacks

Loss of time                                      Suicide attempts

Headaches                                        Depression

Panic attacks                                    Sleep disorders

Fear of sex                                        Nightmares

Bladder Infections                          Poor body image

Vaginal infections                           Low self-esteem

Eating difficulties                            Dissociation

Sexual acting out                             Overly controlling

Compulsive exercising                   Chaotic lifestyle

Impulsive spending                         Minimizing or denying abuse

Alcohol or drug abuse                     Unclear memories

Gambling or shoplifting                 Impaired concentration

Self-mutilation                                 light-headedness

Fear of intimacy                               Irrational guilt

Lack to trust                                      Hyperalertness

Intensification                                Anxiety disorders

Negative self-evaluation                Mood swings

Helplessness                                    Hopelessness

Drama                                                Idealization

Disturbed relatedness                    Withdrawal

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