Minimizing Trauma after Sexual Assault for Family Members

Category : Getting Help

Minimizing Trauma after Sexual Assault for Family MembersYou may feel helpless as you watch a loved one cope with the trauma of surviving sexual assault. You may even feel clueless about how to help, because even competent parents, siblings, friends and spouses may never have dealt with such an awful problem. However, with the right help you can get your loved one into treatment for this crippling experience.

How Can You Help a Survivor of Sexual Assault?

It is never too early or too late to help a loved one who has been assaulted. Your loved one may not be receptive to your help at first, but if you provide strength and stability, she may soon reach out for your help. Unfortunately, this may only happen as your loved one realizes that she cannot cope with trauma on her own. This may take time, because the physical effects of surviving assault may lessen with time, because bruises will heal, cuts and scrapes will slowly disappear. On the other hand, emotional symptoms of trauma may not appear immediately, and they will definitely be the last to heal. To combat this, you must make yourself available to help your loved one get the care she needs. If she is unready to reach out for professional help, push her to do so, but do not push too strongly.

Developing Posttraumatic Stress Disorder after Surviving Sexual Assault

If your loved one displays troubling symptoms after enduring sexual assault, then take this as your cue to step in. People who survive trauma may develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which may cause any of the following symptoms:

  • Flashbacks
  • Nightmares
  • Panic attacks
  • High levels of anxiety
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Intense feelings of guilt
  • Depression and thoughts or attempts at suicide
  • Loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable

PTSD often occurs in people who endure sexual assault, and getting help immediately after the trauma doesn’t safeguard a patient from this disorder. Unfortunately, drug and alcohol abuse also commonly occur after someone endures sexual assault. These survivors may turn to mind-altering substances to self-medicate the pain of trauma, so substance abuse becomes a temporary solution to pain. The problem is that PTSD will only escalate unless someone reaches out for professional help.

Help for Sexual Assault Survivors

When your loved one needs help after surviving sexual assault, it is important to know what your treatment options are. A number of rehab facilities are well equipped to treat the effects of sexual assault and also addiction, and getting the right type of help is crucial to recovery. Our counselors operate a 24 hour, toll-free helpline to help people find treatment for these serious problems. They will handle your call with the confidentiality you need, so call now to get your loved one some professional help.