This week concludes Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
As many as 25% of American women will experience sexual abuse in their lifetimes.
As we consider the prevalence of assault and the ways in which we can prevent it, let us also explore the lasting psychological effects of trauma and the treatment options that are available for victims.
What is Trauma?
“Trauma results from an event, series of events, or set of circumstances that is experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful or threatening and that has lasting adverse effects on the individual’s functioning and physical, social, emotional, or spiritual well being.” -SAMHSA
Everyone experiences trauma differently.
In many cases, individuals will not experience any long-term effects from trauma. For others, however, the effects of a traumatic experience can persist psychologically, socially, and even physically.
Traumatic experiences that occur during the formative years of childhood and adolescence as well as those that are recurring tend to produce the most damaging and withstanding effects.
Experiencing trauma can both cause mental illness to occur and be exacerbated by a preexisting mental health condition. Common diagnoses resulting from trauma include substance abuse disorders, depression and anxiety, personality disorders, eating disorders and PTSD.
What is PTSD?
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD may develop if an individual has experienced or witnessed a traumatic event.
For female victims of sexual assault, 94% experience symptoms of PTSD in the two weeks following the event, according to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.
“Nine months later, about 30 out of 100 of the women were still reporting this pattern of symptoms. The National Women’s Study reported that almost one of every three rape victims develop PTSD sometime during their lives.” –ptsd.va.gov
PTSD symptoms can be very severe, causing individuals to relive past traumatic events, avoid certain situations due to stress and anxiety, or experience outbursts of extreme fear and overwhelming emotion.
Psychotherapy and sometimes medication are often recommended in such cases.
GenPsych’s Adult Psychiatric Programs
The Anxiety/Trauma Track
The Anxiety Disorders/Trauma track is designed to educate clients on managing safety, trauma, and anxiety symptoms, to improve social and self-interactions, balance, presence, and control in their daily lives.
Individuals in this track will participate in group therapy, individual sessions with a therapist, and family sessions if desired. Mindfulness, motivational, educational, CBT and DBT approaches are utilized. In all tracks clients are provided with mood/medication counseling and management. For more information on our Adult Mental Health programs, click here.