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PTSD is common among survivors of sexual assault and abuse

Posted in Sexual Abuse on Wednesday, February 15, 2017.

When people talk about post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), most people immediately think about members of the military. Those who see combat often experience post traumatic stress. Between 10 and 30 percent of veterans from any given conflict likely experience PTSD as a result. As sad as that statistic is, the rates of PTSD in those assaulted or abused by sexual predators are even higher. When it comes to survivors of sexual abuse and assault, the lifetime likelihood of developing PTSD is roughly 50 percent.

This tragic statistic means that those who survive a sexual assault will require counseling and professional therapy, even medications, to work through their trauma. Working with an experienced personal injury attorney who represents sex abuse and rape victims in civil suits is a good idea. An attorney may be able to help you file a civil suit against liable parties to recover funds that can pay for treatment.

PTSD can be treated, but it is difficult

Every case of PTSD is different, but certain aspects are common. Hyper-arousal and hyper-vigilance, which means subconsciously increased levels of tension and alertness to protect oneself, are common. Many people with PTSD have strong emotional reactions to certain stimuli. Overwhelming emotions when triggered can range from fear and sadness to rage. For others, the response can be physical, causing headaches or even vomiting.

What triggers the response also varies. For many people with PTSD, loud noises and other startling stimuli can be very triggering. Others respond to smells, certain locations or even a tune. As a result, therapy-based treatment must be highly individualized and often intensive, lasting for months or years. Suppression of symptoms and even remission is possible, but often at great expense. An experienced personal injury attorney that represents victims of sexual crimes may be able to help you recover damages to cover those expenses.

PTSD can dramatically change your life

From its destabilizing impact on your mood to the way it interrupts your interpersonal relationships, PTSD can drastically alter your quality of life. Many people who suffer from PTSD as a result of sexual victimization withdraw from social settings. This can have long-lasting effects on their careers, their ability to fall in love and start a family and even whether or not they finish school. While many employers and schools try to be understanding, it can be difficult to fully accommodate someone with severe PTSD symptoms.

An attorney can help you regain control

For those suffering from PTSD as the result of a sexual assault or sexual abuse, an attorney can use one’s understanding of the law to hold your assailant accountable. He or she may be able to help you find closure through the legal process.