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Can unresolved childhood sexual abuse affect you physically?

On Behalf of | Jul 8, 2024 | Childhood Sex Abuse |

Survivors of sexual abuse and trauma carry with them experiences that can profoundly impact their lives. It is essential to acknowledge that healing is a journey and that each survivor’s experience is unique.

While a traumatic experience can impact survivors mentally, unresolved trauma can also manifest physically. But there are ways to cope, aside from therapy, there are also legal options that may provide support.

6 ways trauma manifests physically

Unresolved trauma from sexual abuse can affect the body in several ways. The mind and body are interconnected. Here are ways unresolved trauma can affect you physically:

  • Chronic pain: Persistent pain, especially in areas like the back, neck, and shoulders, can be a result of unresolved trauma.
  • Headaches and migraines: Survivors may experience frequent headaches or migraines triggered by stress or anxiety.
  • Gastrointestinal issues: Trauma can lead to digestive problems. This includes irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or chronic stomach pain.
  • Sleep disturbances: Nightmares, insomnia and other sleep issues are common among survivors.
  • Fatigue: Constant tiredness and low energy levels can result from the body’s prolonged stress response.
  • Immune system suppression: Chronic stress can weaken the immune system, making survivors more susceptible to illnesses.

Recognizing these physical symptoms is a crucial step in addressing unresolved trauma. Understanding that these symptoms have a connection with past abuse can validate a survivor’s experiences and encourage them to seek help.

Coping with unresolved trauma

Survivors have options for coping with unresolved trauma. You may also seek professional help from therapists who specialize in trauma can provide a safe space to process experiences.

Additionally, survivors can seek justice and compensation. New Jersey law has extended the statute of limitations for filing a civil lawsuit for sexual abuse. This allows survivors more time to come forward.

Remember, you are not alone, and support is available. Whether through therapy, support groups, or legal avenues, taking steps toward resolution can lead to a healthier, more empowered life.