Last Updated on September 19, 2023 by Asfa Rasheed
Childhood abuse, particularly sexual abuse of minors, is an evil crime that most of us abhor. However, what often gets forgotten is that those children grow up to be adults. And as adults, they are expected to fit in and function in society, almost as if their childhood never happened. They might be written off by health professionals and peers due to the mental health impact of their childhoods, find it hard to make meaningful connections, or spend their lives feeling like nobody understands them.
The effects of child abuse can go on for a lifetime. Many people today are living in society, carrying the impact of their childhood around with them. The scars may be invisible, but they are there.
PTSD and Complex PTSD
People who have been through any kind of abuse as a child may suffer from PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder) or complex PTSD. The main difference between the two lies in the exposure to trauma. PTSD is generally developed after exposure to just one traumatic event. On the other hand, complex PTSD occurs when somebody has been exposed to several traumas, over a period of time, in a situation that they could not escape from.
Due to the nature of childhood abuse, it’s unsurprising, then, that many survivors are dealing with complex PTSD. Symptoms include hypervigilance, inability to trust self or others, inability to form lasting relationships, and a strong sense of being ‘different’ from others around them.
If you experienced any type of abuse as a child, legal action could help you get closure. There are specialized lawyers who take on cases of clergy abuse and other types of childhood abuse that you may be affected by. While compensation may not cure PTSD, it can ease financial trouble, give you a sense of justice, and provide funding for more effective treatment. You can get more info here.
While not every person who experienced abuse as a child will have problems holding down a job, many do. And the lack of understanding in the employment world is often palpable. Individuals are often expected to continue working like nothing is wrong, even when triggered. There’s a distinct stigma surrounding trauma, and while things are getting better, many still struggle with their needs going unseen and unheard. So, it’s unsurprising that people who are dealing with symptoms such as a lack trust in others or themselves, constant hypervigilance, insomnia, and anxiety might struggle to hold a job down. Ultimately, these issues with employment can lead to problems in other areas of their lives.
Physical Health Problems
Over time, being hypervigilant and living life in ‘fight or flight’ can take a huge toll on the body. People who’ve been subjected to abuse as children and live with these symptoms on a daily basis are often more likely to develop autoimmune conditions and other physical ailments. Hormonal imbalances are not uncommon, due to the high levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, caused by living with PTSD or complex PTSD.
While a lot of efforts are made to protect children from abuse, the effects are often forgotten about once somebody becomes an adult. It’s crucial that as a society, we develop a better understanding of these invisible scars, and that adults who’ve experienced abuse as children are given the support they need to recover.
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