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Consequences of Sexual Abuse; Effects of Child Abuse; Symptoms of Child Molestation; Child Sexual Abuse Signs

Abstract: Sexual abuse can cause psychological, social, sexual and physical problems. Sexual abuse signs can be self harming, anger, nightmares, loss of confidence, sexual problems, denial, re-experiencing.

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Consequences of Sexual Abuse; Effects of Child Abuse; Symptoms of Child Molestation; Child Sexual Abuse Signs

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Written by: Wendy Moelker, psychologist in charge of Emergis, Goes, the Netherlands and Jacob Palme, professor, Stockholm University.
First version: 22 Jul 2008.
Latest revision: 24 Aug 2008.

What are the consequences of sexual abuse? What are the effects of child abuse? What are the symptoms of child molestation?


Note that other traumatic events can cause the same symptoms as sexual molestation. Thus, occurrence of the symptoms listed below is not proof of sexual molestation.

Depending on the seriousness, the duration and the sort of abuse, some of those who were abused in their childhood, or recently retain certain problems due to this trauma. These can be divided into psychological, social, sexual and physical problems.

Psychological problems:

Fears, panic attacks, sleeping problems, nightmares, irritability, outbursts of anger and sudden shock reactions when being touched.

Little confidence, and self-respect and respect for one's own body may change.

Behavior that harms the body: addiction to alcohol and other substances, excessive work or sports, depression, self-destruction and prostitution.

Social problems:

Have little confidence in other people.

Fear of loss of control in relationships.

Sexual problem:

While making love problems often occur. The partner may be confused by a certain remark, touch or behavior that brings back memories of the abuse.

Patients sometimes don't want to make love at all anymore or make love less.

Sexual relation problems may occur, together whit pain while making love, not wanting to make love and problems in getting aroused. Problems with the orgasm and coming also occur.

Physical complaints:

Abdominal pain, pain while making love, menstrual pain, intestinal complaints, stomach ache, nausea, headache, back pain, painful shoulders, in short all kinds of chronic pain may occur. The pain is often inexplicable.

Eating disorders often occur in sexually abused people. More.

When the patients, in reaction to a harmful event, disordered for more than a month in such a way that they can't go to school, can't work, isolate themselves or experience other negative consequences, one can talk about a post-traumatic stress syndrome More information. This disorder originates in reaction to a very harmful event and has three characteristic symptoms:

  1. Denial and repression
  2. alternating with re-experiencing,
  3. and they are always over irritated.

Denial and repression ; they deny or repress the harmful event(s): they don't want to talk about or avoid certain situations. At an older age, memory of sexual abuse is often completely suppressed, but can sometimes be recovered in psychotherapy.

It is, however, difficult to determine if such recovered memories are memories of real experiences of memories of dreams or imagined events. This difficulty can be a problem if you want to prosecute the abuser, but it is not a problem for treatment using modern psychotherapeutic methods.

Re-experiencing ; they experience the event(s) again; unintentionally they are confronted with memories of the abuse, for example through nightmares, sudden memories or unexplainable physical problems.

Over irritation ; they are easily affected, hot-tempered, jumpy, excessively alert and don't fall asleep easily.

Intelligent natural language question-answering in the area of psychology and psychiatry. Ask a simple question:
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