Sexual Abuse Related PTSD

sexual abuse PTSD counselling

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a common mental health issue associated with sexual abuse.

Anxiety, depression and intense memories of the abuse can result in psychological scars and long-lasting health conditions. Although sexual abuse is an extremely traumatic and life-altering experience, recovery is possible.

Whether the sexual abuse occurred many years ago or recently, there are many psychological approaches that can help to deal with the resultant mental impact.

What is Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse is any form of sexual violence including rape, child molestation, incest or any form of non-consensual sexual interaction. It can also include sexual harassment and making sexually inappropriate comments in front of children or publishing nude photos of victims without their consent.

Australia has a disturbingly high rate of abuse against women, but sexual abuse also occurs against children including young boys, men and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.

Mental Health Issues Related to Sexual Abuse

There is a wide range of psychological and emotional impacts related to sexual abuse. Everyone will react differently and a range of factors can influence responses and ongoing issues. Some of those factors include the severity of the abuse, the length of time over which the abuse occurred, the responses of family and friends and the relationship to the abuser.

Reactions can include:

  • Shame, guilt, anger, rage, fear
  • A belief that no one understands what they are experiencing
  • Confusion or an inability to think clearly or to concentrate
  • A feeling of being isolated and alone and out of touch
  • A sense of grief and loss
  • Not being able to stop thinking about the abuse
  • Changes in sleeping patterns and experiencing nightmares
  • An unwillingness to be touched by anyone
  • Difficulty in trusting others
  • Feeling unsafe when alone
  • Feeling nervous and anxious
  • A lack of self-confidence
  • Physical symptoms such as headaches, nausea, stomach aches, loss of appetite, fatigue
  • Self-injury

Mental health issues can include depression, anxiety, PTSD, personality disruptions, addiction and flashbacks.

PTSD Therapy for Sexual Abuse

If you or a loved one has suffered the trauma of sexual abuse and are experiencing symptoms of PTSD, therapies are available to provide support and treatment towards recovery.

Your therapy will be based on your unique circumstances. It’s important to work with your therapist to find the best solutions.

Treatments which have been used to treat PTSD traumas include cognitive behavior therapy, mindfulness integrated cognitive behavior therapy and eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing.

Group therapy can also be effective through providing a safe and empathetic environment in which to share experiences with others.

Get Support

Recovery from psychological issues due to sexual abuse-related PTSD is not an individual challenge, but relies on a solid support network and professional treatment to be successful.

Find out more about your treatment options or learn more about clinical psychologists available to help you at Psychological Health Care.

We treat patients from all over Perth at our clinic in Dianella. To make an appointment simply give us a call or fill out the contact form on our contact page and we’ll call you to confirm.


Request an appointment button

Contact Us button

Dianella Psychologists button