Abuse and Trauma

Abuse and resulting trauma puts one in higher risk of a range of persisting psychiatric disorders, such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic disorder and substance abuse. Though it is important that trauma alone due to abuse may not necessarily mean that psychological or medical illness will occur, though this trauma may affect one’s self-view and consequently, interpersonal relationships. 

Adaptive or protective mechanisms from the abuse may turn maladaptive in situations outside of the abuse as individuals may be triggered by events that remind them of the trauma. Immediate responses to trauma can include anxiety, numbness, dissociation, confusion, physical arousal, confusion, anxiety, exhaustion. Consequently, emotional dysregulation may occur, where trauma survivors have difficulties regulating emotions such as anger, shame and anxiety or may even numb themselves.

Who may be vulnerable to abuse:

Anyone who has power over a vulnerable person may be vulnerable to abuse, some of which may include;

  • Children
  • Spouse
  • Vulnerable adults; elderly
  • Individuals with disabilities
  • Colleague
  • Staff member 

Recognising some of the effects of abuse-related trauma

  • Sleeping troubles
  • Panic attacks and anxiety
  • Drinking or taking other drugs
  • Binge-eating, purging (throwing up) food or starving
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Repeated experiences of sexual or physical violence
  • Feelings of self-hate and low self-esteem
  • Fearing people and relationship
  • Difficulties trusting

How to seek help from abuse trauma

There are effective ways to address trauma and some of the therapy methods include; Cognitive behavioural therapy, Dialectical behaviour therapy and Eye movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).

If you or someone you know is encountering abuse, call 999 immediately if a life is in imminent danger, or you may call the 24 hours National Anti-Violence Helpline (NAVH) at 1800-777 0000.

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