There are numerous reasons an individual falls victim to sexual abuse and addiction. Childhood trauma can put people at risk for drug and alcohol addiction. In actuality, women who have experienced sexual abuse at a young age are three times more likely to use drugs, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
As a result of this truth, it is vital to know the negative effects one can experience when suffering from sexual abuse. Together, we can work together to end the stigma of addiction and get any women struggling with substance abuse the help they need.
Defining Physical and Sexual Abuse
Physical abuse is a large umbrella that encompasses sexual abuse and other forms of abuse. To better understand both terms, let’s define them separately.
Physical abuse involves causing harm to another through body contact. Sexual abuse, on the other hand, is the act of coercing another into sexual activity without consent.
The Link Between Sexual Abuse and Addiction
Sexual abuse and addiction are locked in a cycle that often has an indefinite start and endpoint. Most times, kids are at a high risk of sexual or physical abuse, especially if they live with an addict. This is because drugs and alcohol can undermine the ward or parent’s ability to give daily care in the same manner they would if they were sober.
If the parent or caretaker isn’t the abuser, the child can still be exposed to abuse from others if they’re left unsupervised. With that being said, not all children that experience trauma and abuse won’t necessarily grow up to be addicted to substances as addiction is not unique to childhood sexual trauma. But when an individual experiences a trauma that’s typically linked with violent sexual misconduct, the individual may turn to alcohol or drugs to suppress the pain associated with the trauma they’ve endured.
If the parents of the child abused alcohol or drugs, they might likely continue the cycle afterward. For specific people, this act can become a fully developed addiction. Why? It’s simple! When a person starts using, their brains and central nervous systems adapt to these chemical substances and slowly take more of the substance to produce the same feeling they sought originally.
The above mentioned describes the intent of an addict who starts using drugs as a coping mechanism for the sexual abuse they suffered. It also captures the link between sexual abuse and alcoholism.
For those who have been sexually abused, they may experience the following:
PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
The victim experiences flashbacks of the traumatic event. These flashbacks become so haunting that they feel less confident and a constant void. If the victim goes through these without communicating with a therapist, the situation may likely exacerbate.
Depression is just one of the numerous ways PTSD manifests. In this case, the victim loses interest in basically everything and may even contemplate suicide.
Anxiety and Fear
Following the event of sexual abuse, the victim may experience shock or anxiety. The event can also make the individual experience denial, become withdrawn, fearful, or develop substance abuse disorders. Efficient treatment for victims may include several therapies such as group therapy, behavioural therapy, and cognitive therapy.
Treat Your Addiction With Help From Anchored Tides Recovery
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please reach out to us at Anchored Tides Recovery today. We’re located in beautiful Huntington Beach, California, and are dedicated to providing women the best addiction treatment possible.
We understand the link between sexual abuse and addiction. As such, we have different programs that will help you heal from the trauma and take you on a path to recovery from drug and alcohol addiction.
Contact us today to learn how we can help you secure a win over alcohol and drug addiction.