Does Sexual Abuse Promote Substance Abuse?

Jun 27 2016

Does Sexual Abuse Promote Substance Abuse?

The argument over nature vs nurture is a question for the ages. Genetic predisposition and post-traumatic stress disorder pave the way for similar addictive tendencies resulting in a deadly disease. Treatment programs and 12 step communities are flooded with trauma survivors.

There is a pronounced correlation between sexual abuse and substance abuse. Childhood sexual abuse is more likely associated with substance abuse than any other psychiatric disorder. Teens who experience sexual abuse or assault are three times more likely to become substance dependent than teens without abuse. One in four girls and one in six boys in America have been a victim of sexual abuse before the age of 18.

Victims of sexual abuse commonly exhibit post-traumatic stress disorder, poor coping skills, anti-social behavior, depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, promiscuity, eating disorders, substance abuse, self-injurious behavior, and suicide. Acts of escapism through self-harm; such as cutting, burning, hitting, punching, and pulling out hair are among the secrets kept by the abused to ease emotional distress which often follows sexual abuse. Other consequences include the inability to engage in a trusted, committed, and dedicated relationship.

I am uncertain that the predisposed genes from both my parents superseded the reoccurring sexual abuse throughout my childhood. My identity, innocence, and purity taken before I knew it ever existed. A legacy of fear, fear of men, fear of the unknown, fear of trust. By raping the soul; the soul is than soiled, damaged, and broken.

Walking into a treatment program, such as Recovery Solutions of Central Florida, is the first brave step toward FREEDOM. Recovery Solutions of Central Florida is a treatment program focused on healing the effects of childhood sexual abuse and the problematic behaviors associated. Healing is not about forgetting the abuse, masking or numbing the events leading to a constant search for self-medication. We overcome our trauma and our fears by acknowledging the pain and accepting that we can not change it. Remaining powerless over life’s unfortunate circumstances frees us from shame, guilt, and regret. Only when we become willing to work through the trauma and pain; we are free to live productive, happy, healthy, fulfilling, purposeful lives. Freedom to forgive and leave the fear in the past. A treatment program like Recovery Solutions of Central Florida and an ongoing aftercare plan with the 12 step fellowships can lead the way of restoring HOPE, LOVE, and eventually TRUST.

Trina K. W.

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