Monday, November 25, 2002

Common Symptoms of Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse

© (1994) Vicki Polin, MA, ATR, LCPC and Gail Roy, MA, ATR, LCPC
(Reprinted by Permission)
  1. Low self-esteem, feeling worthless.
  2. Fear of abandonment and other abandonment issues.
  3. Acting out behavior. Not knowing how to identify, process and or express intense feelings in more productive ways.
  4. Unexplained fears of being alone at night, nightmares and/or night terrors. . .
  5. Feeling overly grateful/appreciative from small favors by others.
  6. Boundary issues: lack of, needing to be in control, power issues, fear of losing control...
  7. Eating disorders including: anorexia, bulimia, compulsive over-eating etc. . .
  8. Headaches, arthritis and/or joint pain, gynecological disorders, stomach aches and other somatic symptomology.
  9. Unexplained anxiety/panic, when with individuals from childhood.
  10. Extreme guilt/shame.
  11. Obsessive/compulsive behaviors (not necessarily Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder).
  12. History of being involved in emotionally, psychological and/or physically violent relationships(emotionally, physically).
  13. Memories of domestic violence in childhood.
  14. Sexual acting out, "sexaholism", history of prostitution, performing in porn films . . .
  15. Distorted body image/poor body image.
  16. Hypervigilance.
  17. History of ambivalent or intensely conflictive relationships.
  18. Depersonalization. Feeling oneself to be unreal and everyone else to be real (or vice versa).
  19. Blocking out periods of one's life (usually ages 1-12) or a specific person or place.
  20. History of multi-victimizations in other forms.
  21. Extremely high or low risk taking.
  22. Obsession with suicide at various times of the year or after triggering events.
  23. Wearing layers of clothing, even in the summer - caused by body image issues.
  24. Intense anxiety and/or avoidance of gynecological exams.
  25. Unexplained fears of suffocation.

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