TLC WORKSHOP INTENSIVE
One only, 7-9 February 2017
Bookings 1300 283297
A workshop for female survivors of Child Sexual Abuse
Bookings 1300 283297
An increased rate of both suicide and attempted suicide are associated with childhood trauma, particularly child sexual abuse. (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2010). In 2010 the Medical Journal of Australia (MJA) published a paper on a study of 2,759 Australians who have been medically ascertained as being victims of child sexual abuse (CSA) between 1964 and 1995. The study found significantly higher rates of suicide and accidental fatal drug overdose in the CSA group compared to national data for the general population. (M Cutajar, 2010)
The ACE Study in the United States identified that adults who have experienced four or more adverse childhood experiences are 12 times more likely to have attempted suicide than those who have not experienced any forms of childhood trauma or abuse (Felitti, et al., 1998).
Linkage of Mental Health Concerns with childhood trauma
There is now little doubt about the relationship between childhood abuse and emotional and psychological problems as an adult. A study by Colombia University has revealed that 40% of those experiencing chronic Depression for at least 5 years had experienced child sexual abuse. The impairments associated with `complex’ (ie cumulative, underlying and largely interpersonally generated) abuse are now known to be more extensive than those associated with `single incident’ trauma alone. The complex trauma of adverse childhood experiences is now recognised to be particularly damaging because the brain is undergoing critical early development.
According to NSW Health (1998), survivors of child sexual abuse accounted for 34% of all presentations across the mental health sector in 1998. Survivors of child sexual abuse constitute the greatest number of women requesting services both from the public and private mental health sectors (Henderson, 2006). A 2006 study found that growing up in a household with domestic violence could be a significant contributing factor to alcohol and drug abuse and depression (Pinheiro, 2006).
The previous section outlined some of the social and cognitive impairments associated with childhood trauma including abuse. This section lists some of the high risk behaviours often associated with such a history and consequently with those impairments. These behaviours are adopted by victims to help them cope with their trauma.
Australian Bureau of Statistics as part of its Australian Health Survey identifies five main health risk-factors in Australia for survivors of child sexual abuse:
- Being overweight or obese
- Alcohol & Drug abuse
- Poor diet and nutrition
- Lack of physical exercise
Link to childhood trauma and abuse
Teenagers and young adults with drug and alcohol abuse problems are 21 times more likely to have been sexually abused than those without such problems.(Clark,McClanahan & Sees, 1997)
Epidemiologic studies as well as studies in treatment-seeking populations converge to support the finding that early-life trauma is common in people with alcohol dependence. There are a number of potential mechanistic explanations for the connection between early-life trauma and the development of addiction. These include psychological and developmental issues that are affected by trauma, as well as neurobiological effects of early trauma that can lead to increased vulnerability to the development of addiction.
With active early intervention – appropriate support, specialist treatment and trauma-informed practice interventions – adult survivors of child sexual abuse can lead healthy, positive and productive lives. Their children, too, will benefit, because the resolution of trauma in parents intercepts its transmission to the next generation.
- Kezelman, C., Hossack, N., Stavropoulos, P., Burley, P., (2015) The Cost of Unresolved Childhood Trauma and Abuse in Adults in Australia, Adults Surviving Child Abuse and Pegasus Economics, Sydney, NSW, Australia