Early memories of the trauma. This can cause weight


            Early childhood is considered one of
the most crucial times in the duration of a person’s life. A persons overall
developmental outcome is determined during this very fragile period. For a
child to undergo sexual abuse during these primitive years can be detrimental to
the well-being of their health further on in life. For many coping with the
memories of their previous trauma can be too much and they turn to substance
abuse. Substance abuse is often used as a way to cope. Studies have shown drug abuse
among childhood sexual abuse victims is higher than alcohol use. The majority
of the time these victims not only have to deal with their trauma, they usually
develop other mental health problems. Many survivors develop anxiety due to the
fact they fear the abuse will happen again. The anxiety for some, causes many
survivors to lock themselves somewhere they feel safe. Others may even get
panic attacks when their anxiety becomes overwhelming. Another mental health
problem prominent in these survivors is depression. Depression can be described
as an overwhelmingly deep sadness. This stems back to their early memories of
the trauma. This can cause weight gain/loss, it can effect a person’s day to
day life, making life feel unbearable. Post- traumatic stress disorder is
common among survivors. This condition is triggered by a past traumatic event
that can emerge at any time. Common occurrences include: nightmares, flashbacks
and even physical reactions to smells, sounds or sights that trigger a
traumatic memory. Lastly dissociation is linked to these survivors, making them
feel disconnected from their own body. This is considered to be an avoidance
mechanism developed to help escape their past. With all these mental health
problems connected to these survivors its easy to understand why some turn to
drugs. According to Lohmann, “Adults abused as
children are reportedly 1.5 times more likely to say they used illicit
drug use in the past year compared to individuals who were not abused as
children.” Researchers have studied why these survivors turn to substance
abuse. The results of those studies include, drugs help them cope with their
mental health issues, improved self-worth and self-esteem, helped to deal with loneliness
and finally the substances helped to block out painful memories. With all of
these problems stemming back from their previous abuse it is not hard to see
why child sexual abuse victims turn to drugs to deal with their painful past.