Child Abuse ; Psychological Effects Essay

Child abuse can lead to many different types of problems throughout a person’s life, and psychological disorders are one of the most common people endure. Psychological disorders or mental disorders can be described as a pattern of behavioral or psychological symptoms that impact multiple life areas or can create distress for a person experiencing these symptoms. According to childhelp. org about 80% of 21 year olds who were abused as children meet criteria of at least one mental disorder.

Psychological disorders can often lead to physical or an emotional effect as well depending on the severity of the disorder and that is why it is so important to understand the effects abuse can have on people. Psychological disorders have a variety of classifications ranging in different types of disorders. Adjustment disorders consist of distress and causes significant emotional and behavioral symptoms. An anxiety disorder is a very common one which consists of generalized anxiety, social anxiety, separation anxiety, phobias, panic attacks, and post-traumatic stress disorders.

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Developmental disorders are a very common among abused children. This consists of ADHD, learning disabilities, communication problems, and conduct disorder. Mood disorders are ones we hear most often about. These pertain to major depression, and bipolar personalities in people. These are a few of the major classifications but there are many other types such as; cognitive disorders, dissociative disorders, eating disorders, factitious disorders, and impulse-control disorders. There are many different types of abuse as well. They all can have different effects on a person, depending on the type of abuse as well as the severity of the abuse.

It is all still painful and can take many different tolls on a person. Some types of abuse are physical, mental, emotional, sexual, mal-treatment, any sort of negligence, exploitation, and many more. Often times the abuse is done by people who are close to the person or someone that the person knows. It is important to know and understand the type of abuse that occurred when working with a patient so that way you can give them the proper treatment and send them on the road of becoming a survivor. Psychotherapy for Chronic Psychiatric Patients Who are Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse was one of the first journals I came across.

It suggests that people who were in mental hospitals who were victims of child sexual abuse go through psychotherapy to overcome their abuse as well as understand it and know that it was not their fault. Psychotherapy is a type of treatment that takes the patient into their past and gives them a chance to reveal what had happened to them. Many of these patients have never told anyone about their abuse because they were afraid or they did not have anyone to tell. It also creates a supportive environment and allows for them to learn coping skills.

What I liked about this article is it looked at three different cases of survivors who were in a mental hospital. They were either in their day program or their live-in program. Each of these people had resorted to alcohol or drugs at a young age because that was all they had been through. Two out of the three had told their parents about the abuse and they were not believed and the third one had never told anyone before. Here were some of their circumstances: Joe was sexually and physically abused by his foster dad and sexually abused by his older foster sister.

He began acting out until he was finally kicked out of his house and started drinking heavily. While on his own, he had two children and then was left by them and his girlfriend for being abusive to her. Joe suffered from depression, would cut himself, felt rejected by others, was suicidal, and often had outbursts of anger and rage towards anyone in his path for little things. Norma is a 30 year-old woman who started getting severely sexually and physically abuse at two years old. She was abused by her father regularly and often times by her older siblings as well. When she told her mom what was happening, her mother did not believe her.

Her mother was also getting abused at home. Norma turned into a very promiscuous teenager involving a life of sex and drugs and at age 14 she became pregnant and was disowned by her family because they told her she was a disgrace to them. She became addicted to drugs and ended up in the mental hospital for manic depression and delusions. She says that demons and saints visit her often, and when she looks in the mirror she sees frightening faces. She suffers from dissociative episodes or blackouts where there are time periods she does not know where she has been or what she has done.

Frank is a man in his 30’s who was sexually abused by a man in his neighborhood for roughly seven years when he was seven years old. Over time, his abuser got him into drugs and he became a heroin addict and sold drugs for his abuser. He had never told anybody about the abuse. It was starting to conflict with his relationship with his girlfriend emotionally and physically. Frank suffers from disorganization and delusions that someone is going to kill him. He takes antipsychotic pills to help his feel and act more normal. Although, these are extreme cases of what the effects of abuse can have, they happen to people more often than we think.

People suffer from different forms of abuse and react to it differently. This particular study focused on psychotherapy as a healing process for the victims and found that it worked very well for them. It is a therapy that is used quite a bit but there are other alternatives. This next journal that I read called Childhood Sexual and Physical Abuse and the 1-year Prevalence of Medical Problems in the National Comorbidity Survey says that childhood abuse is a cause of psychiatric disorders later on in life as well as possibly some medical conditions.

They have also linked the abuse with general pains in the body, diabetes, obesity, and many other health problems in men and women. With this being said, they found it important to look into how many different types of abuse people had been through. They found that if someone had gone through one type of abuse, about 80% of them had endured another type as well. They sent out a National Comorbidity Survey (NCS) and asked people to fill it out and send it back, and if they wanted to it could be anonymously.

The survey contained questions about family backgrounds, psychiatric disorders, and childhood experiences with sexual and physical abuse. Out of about 8,000 people to receive the survey, 82. 6% of people returned it. Then the surveyors picked people to personally interview and went to their homes. The interviewers received 7-day training by the Research Center at the University of Michigan and had at least 5 years of experience with interviewing for the Research Center. They found that people had many different types of mental disorders ranging from depressions, bipolar disorder, anxieties, phobias, and PTSD.

Another study looked directly at women and their past. Relationships between Adult Women’s Mental Health Problem’s and their Childhood Experiences of Parental Violence and Psychological Aggression looked at 447 women all 18 or older from 7 domestic violence programs and 5 substance abuse disorder treatment programs. They also looked at (1) 204 community-based women from physician lists, (2) 174 that had hospital records of abuse and some that didn’t, and (3) 237 mothers picked from Child Protective Services.

Most of the women were recruited from group meetings while in their programs and flyers were posted throughout these facilities in order to recruit women. The women had to sign informed consents before being interviewed and were offered $20 to participate. They could refuse to answer any questions they felt uncomfortable answering and could stop the interview at any time and would still receive their incentive money. They found that these women were in fact at a greater risk for having mental health problems due to child abuse as well as a high rate for drug and alcohol problems.

Many of these women came from a family where their mothers and/or their fathers used drugs or drank heavily. The most common mental health issues they found were higher levels of depression, anxiety, and trauma symptoms. An interesting thing that this journal found with their study is that women who were abused by their mothers had higher levels of anxiety and depression. They found overall that women who were abused by their mothers rather than their fathers had significantly greater psychological effects compared to if they were abused by their fathers.

This journal thinks the reasoning’s for this is due to people expect comfort and safety from their mothers and that mothers are not supposed to abuse their children but love them. I find this to be a true common thought between most people, but in all reality not all mothers are that way. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Adult Female Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse: A Comparison Study was a very interesting journal that focused its results directly on one psychological effect. It compared 45 adult women who had reported acts of childhood sexual and physical abuse compared to 31 omen who had no reports of childhood abuse. The women who had suffered abuse were in outpatient treatment groups for their abuse and the women who had reported no abuse were in outpatient treatment for problems in their current relationships that they were involved in. All participants were required to be a part of treatment for at least 6 months. The women who reported child sexual abuse had to have been through the abuse under the age of 16 and the abuser had to be at least 5 or more years older to be defined as child sexual abuse for this particular study.

Participants of this study met with researchers for about two hours and filled out a packet of questions which included demographic information and personal questions. They were then interviewed by the researchers and asked more questions about their past and present. Researchers found that the mean age of the women during their time of sexual abuse was 13 and the average time the abuse lasted was 7 years. 47% of the victims reported that their abuser used physical force during the time of the abuse.

During the time of their abuse, 42% felt that their life was endangered. The researchers also asked them how many perpetrators they had throughout the time of their abuse; 29% had one, 27% had two, 22% had 3, and 22% had 4 or more perpetrators. Fifty percent of the victims had indicated that their abusers were part of their nuclear family. Out of the women that had experienced child sexual abuse, 77. 8% reported experiencing forms of family violence compared to only 32. 2% of the women who had not been abused reported family violence.

Out of all of the women who had reports of child sexual abuse, 86. 7% had post traumatic stress disorder. As a result of this study, they found a positive correlation between child abuse and post traumatic stress disorder. From other studies that they had looked at, they found this correlation to be true as well. The next study that the journal Psychological Effects of Domestic Violence on Children and Their Mothers focused on many different aspects of the effects domestic violence can have. The journal starts out with a very interesting fact; “Between 3. million and 10 million children in the United States live in households in which domestic violence is perpetrated. ” I found this fact to be very alarming. The study had 50 mothers and their children were referred to the researchers by service agencies in Honolulu, Hawaii. They chose victims who had been victims of domestic violence which they defined as physical, verbal, or sexual abuse that was severe enough that the mother left the relationship. The women also had to have a kid who was living in the home at the time of the abuse who was at least 7 years old.

All in all, 25 mothers and only one of their children participated in this study and they received $100 after the research was done. They went through structured interviews and psychological assessments. The journal focused on two main questions; to what extent do children and mothers of victims who have experienced domestic violence show evidence of psychological effects and if parenting styles are affected by psychological effects and if they are if the children were more likely to obtain those effects as well over time.

It also focused a lot on the children and looked at how many times the children was a part of verbal abuse, physical abuse, witnessing the mother being verbally and/or physically abuse, experiences they have had with police intervention, child attempts to intervene in abuse, if the child had been sexually abused, if the child had been separated from the mother due to child abuse, and the number of times they had stayed at a shelter. The children were interviewed on the violent issues they were a part of and were asked about any dreams, flashbacks, memories, anger, difficulties sleeping, any guilt or other feelings they were experiencing.

They used a Strait-Trait Anger Expression Inventory questionnaire (STAS) to measure feelings and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) which determined depressive states of the participants. The researchers found overall that 92% of the children had witnessed verbal abuse, 68% had said that the abuse they witnessed was moderate to extreme, 84% had witnessed physical abuse of their mothers, and 60% of the children themselves had experienced physical abuse themselves. They found the mother’s results were fairly parallel to their children’s.

Overall, 56% of women said they experienced verbal abuse daily, and 72% said they experienced extreme verbal abuse, 32% experienced physical abuse daily, and only 36% of women said that the likelihood for the abuse to stop while children were present. Even though these results that they found are alarming, 96% of the women said that they tried to protect their child from the abuse or from witnessing the abuse. It made me think though, if 96% of them said that they tried to protect them, then why did so many children only 4% less) witness it? It was something that was a reoccurring thing and that is the sad part of it all, is sometimes the women do not know how to stop it either. They get stuck in the cycle of abuse and the children are right there along with them to endure it as well. Overall, the findings that I found all kind of had a relevance to each other. They all each proposed the idea and found similar findings that any sort of abuse can have negative effects on children.

In each study they had found results that children had experienced some sort of psychological issues going on with them. Some limitations that I came across were that most of the articles I found only concentrated on specific types of abuse or specific types of mental effects the abuse can have. It was hard to find articles that had general results that pertained to this. After researching the effects of child abuse, I have learned a little more on what can happen to children in the long run as a result of abuse.

With this knowledge and the knowledge from this class, it will allow me to help children in need someday whether it is in my job, children in my family, or just children in general that I come in contact with. This will be very useful to me because as of now, I plan on going into Children’s Clinical Psychology and I want to work with kids who are in the juvenile system or who have been in trouble with the law. Many of these kids who are in the legal system will come from families of this background.

Child abuse has a bigger effect on children emotionally and mentally than we think. It is something that stays with them throughout their entire life, and until they find a way to overcome it or get help to overcome it, it will still affect them in some way.

References

Jackson, M. (1994). Psychotherapy for chronic psychiatric patients who are survivors of child sexual abuse. 31(3), 391-397. Blazer, D. (2005). Childhood sexual and physical abuse and the 1-year prevalence of medical problems in the national comorbidity survey. 4(1), 32-40. Downs, D. R. (2006). Relationships between adult women’s mental health problems and their childhood experiences of parental violence and psychological aggression. J Fam Viol, 21, 439-447. Ryan, S. W. (1997). Posttraumatic stress disorder in adult female survivors of childhood sexual abuse: A comparison study. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 65(1), 53-59. Chemtob, C. M. (2004). Psychological effects of domestic violence on children and their mothers . International Journal of Stress Management, 11(3), 209-226.

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