Warning Signs of Sexual Abuse in Teenager. Best Online Sexual Abuse Counseling for Teens and Parents.
As parents we find it challenging to connect with our children at times, especially during puberty and teenage years when they start to distance themselves and begin to figure out who they are.
As their character starts to develop, these changes are normal and as parents we want to respect our kids’ boundaries and space to grow. But how distant is too distant?
If you suspect that your teenager may have experienced some form of sexual abuse, it is important to pay very close attention to their behavioral changes.
How do I find an online sexual abuse therapist near me?
Sexual abuse is a traumatic experience this causes a string of short-term and long-term effects that range from mental health challenges to emotional and psychological challenges.
As a victim of sexual abuse, you can suffer the effects long after the incident happens, it is important to seek help from a professional sexual abuse therapist near me to guide and support you through this process.
Finding an online sexual abuse therapist is easier done through BetterHelp, we have taken the time to ensure that all of our sexual abuse therapists, coaches and specialists are extensively trained, experienced and professional. We only offer the best, most affordable and convenient methods of therapy.
Connecting with one of our sexual abuse therapists will give you the comfort and of healing from your home.
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Simply answer this BetterHelp questionnaire carefully, your answers will be able to give us more insight into how we can offer you the best treatment specifically for you. Shortly after, based on your answers we will match you with the most eligible, qualified and experienced professional sexual abuse therapist to start online sexual abuse therapy with.
BetterHelp gives you the freedom to choose your own sexual abuse therapist that you feel most comfortable with, you can plan and schedule your sessions however and whenever you want to.
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What are the behavioral indicators of sexual abuse?
Identifying the signs and behavioral indicators of sexual abuse in teenagers can be complicated, many times these behavioral indicators are overlooked or dismissed by parents as they see it as ‘growing pains’.
It is important to pay close attention to your teenager in order to know how to tell if a teenager has been sexually abused and seek from a professional sexual abuse therapist to learn how to help a teenager who has been sexually abused.
Many parents of caregivers assume that their teenagers will tell them if they’ve been sexually abused, but in most cases, they feel far too ashamed and guilty to tell anyone. The fear of being exposed and the thought of having to admit and accept what has happened can be extremely traumatizing for a teenager, this is why they prefer to internalize the trauma. Consequently, they will start to show emotional changes, behavioral changes and even physical changes.
Every child’s response to their experience will be different depending on what happened and the severity of the sexual abuse experience.
Look for these behavioral indicators of sexual abuse:
- They become extremely quiet and withdrawn
- They might cry for no obvious reason
- Bed wetting, defecating in their pants or thumb sucking
- Asking questions like, ‘do people have to keep secrets all the time?’
- Anger outbursts or emotional breakdowns
- Unexplained physical pain – stomach aches or head pains
- Becomes angry or emotional when a certain person is mentioned
- Low self-esteem
- Has trouble maintaining relationships
- Trouble with sexual identity
- Self-harm, depressive episodes or anxiety
- Dangerous and unusual behavior – drugs and substance usage
- Dressing out of character
- Changes in eating habits
We encourage parents to educate themselves about sexual abuse and how to identify the behavioral indications of sexual abuse in their teenagers.
Through online therapy for sexual abuse victims, both parents and teenagers will be able to understand how sexual abuse affects child development and learn how to talk about being sexually abused in a safe, comfortable and effective way.
The signs of sexual abuse in a teenager are challenging to identify, take small steps towards talking about sexual abuse with your teenager, when bringing up the subject, pay close attention to their verbal and nonverbal responses.
It is important to remember that if they have been sexually abused and are keeping it a secret, they are more likely to avoid the subject.
A sexual abuse therapist near me will give you the best steps to be able to talk to your teenager about sexual abuse.
What are PTSD symptoms in a sexually abused victim?
Defining sexual abuse symptoms will vary between each victim, your body and your brain respond and compartmentalizes trauma differently, causing victims to develop different coping methods and even different after effects.
Not all sexual abuse victims will experience PTSD or complex PTSD from sexual abuse, for those who do, identifying the signs may range between severe PTSD symptoms to mild and subtle PTSD symptoms.
If you, or someone you know is showing signs of PTSD from sexual abuse, these indicators may be reason to further investigate and seek help from a professional PTSD from sexual abuse therapist.
PTSD symptoms in sexually abused:
- Hypervigilance, paranoia, fear, or agitation
- Traumatic flashback and reliving the sexual abuse experience
- Severe anxiety and distrust
- Loss of interest in enjoyable activities
- Withdrawn from friends and family
- Self-destructive or high risk-behavior
- Depression or depressive episodes
- Nightmares and night terrors
- Constant negative thoughts
- Dissociative behavior
- Emotional detachment
- Isolation and social avoidance
These are mild symptoms of PTSD in sexually abused individuals. Symptoms may vary dependinging on the sexual abuse victim, the severity and period of the sexual abuse incident. However, any of the above-mentioned signs are warnings to get help from a professional sexual abuse therapist.
Therapists that specialize in PTSD offer help for complex PTSD victims who are experiencing trauma symptoms through sexual abuse therapy.
The long-term effects of PTSD can affect your mental, emotional and physical well-being if not treated effectively, you may experience:
- Chronic and unexplained pains
- Severe headaches
- High risk of developing various autoimmune diseases
- Loss of academic or cognitive ability
- Difficulty developing and maintaining healthy relationships
- Substance abuse
- Depression, suicidal thoughts and attempts, loneliness
Although many sexual abuse victims will face long lasting symptoms and effects of trauma, there are many ways to overcome and heal from the trauma to help you reset and reclaim your life.
The first step you can take is searching for professional help. Sexual abuse therapy for victims experiencing PTSD from sexual abuse can help you better understand, identify and manage sexual abuse PTSD triggers.
You can also try methods of EMDR (eye movement and desensitization reprocessing) therapy, and grounding techniques to help you soothe your PTSD symptoms and triggers.
Can you get PTSD from sexual abuse?
Sexual abuse victims experience a wide range of emotions through the sexual abuse event. Furthermore, after the incident ends, victims can develop psychological distress as well that can affect them in many areas of their lives.
Can you get PTSD from sexual abuse? Yes you can. Holding onto trauma and the pain attached to it can cause you to develop C-PTSD or PTSD from sexual abuse.
It is important and strongly encouraged for all sexual abuse victims to get help from a professional sexual abuse therapist as soon as possible.
The difference between PTSD and C-PTSD.
Both PTSD and C-PTSD (a newer form and variation of PTSD) both share similar symptoms, while they can be caused by different traumatic events, the psychological differences are distinct.
As researchers continue to study the complexities and effects of C-PTSD, these are the symptoms shared by both PTSD and C-PTSD.
- Re-living; having flashbacks, re-living or intrusive thoughts about the sexual abuse incident.
- Avoidance and isolation; avoiding people, places and even activities that remind you of the sexual abuse.
- Changes in mood and thoughts; you may experience extreme and rapid mood changes caused by negative or fearful thoughts.
- Constantly on edge; feeling anxious or fearful, being paranoid, irritable or having difficulty sleeping and eating.
While the severity of these symptoms can vary, they are still extremely damaging to a victims well-being. If not dealt with accordingly, PTSD and C-PTSD can further complicate and develop into long-term effects that look like:
- Difficulty regulating emotions.
- Trouble maintaining relationships.
- Daily functionality is affected.
- Interpersonal difficulties.
- Reliving trauma.
- Social avoidance.
- Anxiety, paranoia and fear.
- Dissociative behavior.
PTSD sexual abuse therapy with a specialized PTSD therapist can help for complex PTSD as well.
Although both share similar symptoms, their effects can be extremely damaging and manifest into life-threatening challenges.
How does sexual abuse affect child development?
When a child experiences sexual abuse at a tender and impressionable age where they are still developing, the trauma of the experience damages their psychological ability to process and release the stress. This can cause severe challenges and directly affect child development.
Children who have been sexually abused may experience behavioral and emotional changes such as:
- Nightmares or night terrors
- Outburst of anger or crying for no obvious reason
- Withdrawn and quiet behavior
- Anxiety and depression or depressive episodes
- Unaccounted for knowledge of sexual activity
- Not wanting to be left alone with someone
Pre-teen to teenagers
- Substance abuse, drugs or alcohol
- Change in friend circles
- Withdrawing from certain people
- High risk behavior
- Sexual desire
- Mood swings
- Highly emotional
Sexual abuse affects each victim differently, everyone’s sexual abuse story is completely unique to them, however they react or respond to the trauma is absolutely normal.
We want you to understand that it was not your fault, the sexual abuse that you experienced does not mean you are any less of a person and that there is nothing to be ashamed of.
Childhood sexual abuse can happen in family households by family members, family friends, it can happen at school or even at the park.
It is extremely traumatic and as a result can impact a child’s mental, physical and emotional well-being, and sexual and intimate relationships in future.
The long-term effects of sexual abuse on childhood development can cause:
- PTSD or C-PTSD – post traumatic stress disorder and complex post traumatic stress disorder
- Bi polar disorder
- Personality disorders
- Chronic nightmares or terrors
- Extreme paranoia and fear for their safety
It is unfortunate that when children do not disclose their sexual abuse and receive professional treatment from a sexual abuse therapist, they are at high risk of developing life-altering challenges which has been proven to affect a wide range of victims’ lives, including interpersonal relationships.
We strongly advise you to seek help from a professional sexual abuse therapist to help you heal from the trauma and avoid the long-term effects it may cause.
How sexual abuse affect you in later life.
Can sexual abuse affect you later in life? Yes.
It is a common misconception that sexual abuse a child does not seriously affect you as an adult. Although you may not have realized or been able to identify the signs of sexual abuse earlier in your life, the effects can be subtle and psychological as the trauma has been deeply rooted and caused subconscious effects you may be unaware of.
Sexual abuse can affect you later in life, studies have shown that sexual abuse does affect future relationships, sexual abuse can affect your sexuality, either causing you to have sexual identity challenges, hypersexuality or possible no sexual interest or desire whatsoever.
Sexual abuse can cause severe mental health challenges as a consequence of the effect of sexual abuse on the brain.
How does sexual abuse affect the brain?
During a traumatic experience like sexual abuse, the body goes into ‘shock mode’, causing the brain to release stress hormones and signals to the rest of your body as a result, your nervous system freezes and becomes unable to process and release the shock.
During the sexual abuse the brain and the body go into ‘flight or fight’ mode, as a method of trying to neutralize and control the emotions and process later.
Very similarly to that of a post-war soldier that experiences PTSD after combat, sexual abuse cause the same reaction in the brain.
After the experience, the main areas of the brain that are severely affected are:
- Amygdala – a section of the brain that is responsible for processing stress, trauma and threatening situations. During trauma, it becomes overstimulated and unable to clearly process the sexual abuse.
- Hippocampus – the part of your brain that controls memories and learning. Opposite to the amygdala, the hippocampus becomes less stimulated and the stress hormones that are released during trauma kill nerves in the hippocampus, causing weakness in the ability to recall memories or identify the abuse as trauma.
Sexual abuse can cause victims to loose or fail to recognize certain feelings and sensations. Please connect to a sexual abuse therapist to help you further understand and work through your sexual abuse trauma.
How to tell if a teenager has been sexually abused?
An alarming rate of one in every three girls and one in six boys have been or will be sexually abused or assaulted before they turn 18.
Sexual abuse reports show that 95% of those boys and girls have been sexually abused by someone they know, usually a family member. This tremendously affects the development of a child, resulting in severe psychological, emotional and physical challenges.
As parents, teenagers will shut you out, don’t let that become a barrier for you to help your child and learn how to tell if a teenager has been sexually abused.
A child’s age heavily dictates their response to sexual abuse, if you notice any of these signs, it may be grounds to investigate:
- Sudden obsession with genitals, their own or others
- Having their friends engage in sex play with them
- Inappropriate sex play involving younger children
- Continuous sexual playing
- Unusually frequent masturbation
- Specializing toys
- Playing games that involve dolls or action figures penetrating or getting penetrated
- Touching of genitals in public
- Being able to explain sex very well
- Being overly secretive or telling you they have a secret they can’t share
- Bleeding or bruising in the abdominal area
- Withdrawn or isolated behavior
- Their peers mention the abuse, subtly or covertly
- Insisting on sleeping with all their clothes on
- Nightmares of flashbacks
- Strange unexplained gifts or money
- Random mood swings and outbursts of anger
- Refusing to go to someone’s house or engage in certain activities
- Fear of being touched
- Regressive behavior
Identifying your teenagers’ personal behavioral indicators of sexual abuse may entirely different.
The above-mentioned signs should be used as a guide to assist you when trying to talk about being sexually abused with your teen or investigate and get professional help from a sexual abuse therapist who will be able to give you clearer advice and support.
How to help a teenager who has been sexually abused?
Sexual abuse counseling near me offers advice for parents who want to know how to help a teenager who has been sexually abused. Coping with your child enduring an incident as traumatic as sexual abuse can be emotionally and mentally exhausting and stressful.
Connect with a sexual abuse therapist to ensure that you are in the best and most educated position to help your teenager who has been sexually abused.
When talking to a teenager about being sexually abused, it will be uncomfortable for both parent and child, it is a sensitive subject that should be dealt with and treated with the most care possible. This is how you can help a teenager who has been sexually abused:
- If they talk to you, listen without interrupting and believe them
- Ask subtle questions, not too many and take note of their responses
- Do not overreact and become emotional, make sure they know they can trust you
- Reassure them that you will protect them and you love them
- Take the time to be more present with your child – take time off work, pick them up from school, etc.
- Do regular check-ins with them
- Make sure they know that they can talk to you whenever they need to
- Ask them how you can help them and be prepared to do that for them
- Make sure that they understand it’s not their fault and neither is it yours
How to find help for complex PTSD?
Because complex PTSD exhibits similar symptoms to regular PTSD, victims are commonly misdiagnosed. Researchers and complex PTSD therapists are experienced in distinguishing the differences to help you further understand the condition and guide you through healing.
It is suggested by complex PTSD therapists that you keep a diary or journal of your emotional, mental and physical symptoms and log them as frequently as possible. Doing this will help you identify your symptoms better as well as your sexual abuse PTSD triggers, when receiving treatment and help for complex PTSD. This gives your therapist a more clear understanding of how to develop an effective method of healing with you.
Help for complex PTSD can be different for all sexual abuse victims suffering from C-PTSD and PTSD from sexual abuse, to put yourself in a safe space to be able to openly talk about your trauma and experience is the first step to recovery.
Connect to a complex PTSD therapist near me sooner rather than later to avoid further long-term damage.
How does online sexual abuse counseling work?
With BetterHelp. online sexual abuse counseling with a trained, experienced and professional sexual abuse therapist, you will learn about what sexual abuse is and the short-term and long-term effects of sexual abuse.
Sexual abuse counseling is both a learning and healing journey for parents and teenagers who have experienced sexual abuse.
We understand that as a parent having to face the trauma of your child being sexually abused is an emotional and painful journey, the support of a sexual abuse therapist will give you the strength to cope and the advice to help yourself and your teenager overcome sexual abuse trauma.
How will online sexual abuse counseling my teen cope?
Teenagers experience an entirely different world to yours as parents, their pressures and stressors are completely different and require sensitive attention.
A teenager that has been sexually abused may be experiencing an array of confusing, frustrating and burdensome emotions. They may be struggling to process their trauma and could be feeling helpless and lonely.
If you suspect your teenager has been sexually abused, it is important to intervene and connect them to a sexual abuse therapist to help them understand what has happened and how to manage and overcome the trauma.
Learn how to help a teenager that has been sexually abused with BetterHelp..