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The Physical Effects of Adults from Child Abuse

By en:User:Steevven1 [CC-BY-2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons

In 2011, the United States reported 676,569 children were the victims or child neglect or child abuse. While the physical injuries from child abuse are outwardly visible, neglect and abuse can have long-term psychological and emotional consequences for children. Being abused and neglected is something a child can carry well into adulthood and its effects can last a lifetime and it may become a generational occurrence if the cycle is not broken.

What factors will affect the consequences of child abuse and neglect?

The outcome a child of abuse will have in adulthood will vary widely and it is affected by a number of factors. The following things can influence the outcome a child may have in adulthood due to childhood abuse and/or neglect:
•The type of abuse the child has suffered be it physical abuse, sexual abuse and/or neglect
•The age and developmental state of the child when the neglect or abuse occurred
•The frequency, length and severity of abuse
•The relationship between the abuser and the victim

What are the symptoms an adult could have related to childhood abuse?

A very interesting observation about adult survivors of childhood abuse is that most of them do not connect their currently life problems and issues with the abuse they suffered as a child. In fact, many people will even go so far as to deny the excessive punishment they received was abusive. Finally, many individuals are convinced they actually “deserved” what they got.

In adulthood, a child abuse survivor may experience any of the following symptoms:
•Social isolation
•Conflicted and difficult feelings about commitment and marriage
•Low self-esteem
•Anxiety caused by no particular event or experience
•Chronic, low-level depression
•Panic attacks usually associated with PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder
•Dissociative disorder
•Lack of trust in other people
•Chronic thoughts and feelings of guilt about what happened to them
•Choosing partners who continue to exhibit the abusive behaviors they experienced as a child
•A fear of being “bad” or not good enough

What type of treatment is available to help adult survivors of child abuse?

There are a number of different ways an adult can be helped to heal from childhood abuse. One way is through the use of antidepressant medications to help with anxiety and depression. However, medications alone are not going to completely eliminate the toxic feelings the individual will carry around because of child abuse.

In addition to antidepressant medications, many adult survivors of childhood will benefit from therapy. The goal of therapy is to help the person learn new and healthier thinking patterns, to change behaviors and prevent the pattern of abuse from continuing any longer.

Two types of therapy which are commonly used to help someone recover from childhood abuse include; psycho-dynamic or psychoanalytic therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. Whatever type of therapy a person receives, it is important to find the right therapist. It is important a person finds a therapist who makes them comfortable and exhibits warmth, understanding and compassion.

Through receiving the right kind of medications if needed and therapy, a person who has gone through childhood abuse can find a healthier way of living. It is possible to work with a therapist to uncover the buried emotions being harbored due to childhood abuse and once these demons are dealt with many people have been able to move on in life and look forward to a positive future.