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Women's Health

Mercy Women's Care at St. Anne
3404 W. Sylvania Avenue
Toledo, OH 43623
419-407-1616

Mercy Women's Care at St. Charles
Navarre Medical Plaza
2702 Navarre Avenue
Suite 101
Oregon, OH 43616
696-7900

Mercy Women's Care at St. V's
2213 Cherry Street
Toledo, OH 43608
419-251-4340

When Adults were Abused as Children

separator The effects of child abuse last a lifetime. That’s why it’s so important to stop it. When abused and neglected children become adults, they are more likely to 

  • Abuse their own families
  • Attempt to solve problems in a violent way
  • Have difficulty learning
  • Have emotional difficulties
  • Try to commit suicide
  • Abuse alcohol and other drugs

Adults who were abused as children often feel that they are completely worthless, damaged beyond repair, and not worthy of love or happiness. They are more likely to struggle with feelings of extreme anger, social isolation and shame. Depression is also common for them, as is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). And they often suffer from feelings of guilt. 

In addition to the problems described above, adults who were sexually abused as children also are more likely to experience sexual dysfunction and to have poor body image. 

Discussing these issues with a therapist can be extremely beneficial for adults. Recently, a small pilot program called “Solace for the Soul: A Journey Towards Wholeness,” was conducted in Midwestern Ohio. It lasted for 8 weeks. Sessions focused on the ways that childhood sexual abuse affected spirituality, such as feelings that God had abandoned them, releasing feelings of shame, seeing the body as a creation that’s beautiful and seeing sexuality as a life-affirming way of connecting with others. 

All patients in the study experienced an improvement in their symptoms, which included bipolar disorder, serious depression and anxiety and PTSD. The largest improvements were for patients suffering from depression and anxiety. The study’s author says she believes that focusing on these spiritual issues would be helpful to patients who are in other types of therapy to deal with the abuse they experienced as children.

Source:
American Psychological Association; ChildhelpUSA, Inc.; H. Kaplan, B. Sadock, J. Grebb, Synopsis of Psychiatry, Williams and Wilkins, 1994; M. Sullivan, Clinical Psychiatry News, Spiritualized Therapy May Lessen Symptoms in Sex Abuse Survivors, March 2005.



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