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Sexual abuse and substance abuse

Discussion in 'Dual-Diagnosis Treatment' started by Lucy, Nov 11, 2014.

  1. missbishi

    missbishi Community Champion

    Sexual abuse causes untold damage to the victims and whilst reporting it is certainly the right thing to do, it won't take away the horrific memories. So it is really no surprise that some people begin to blot these thoughts out with drugs and alcohol. Sobriety won't happen by simply not drinking, tasha is right, the underlying issues need to be confronted first. This is no mean feat and can take years.
  2. Charli

    Charli Community Champion

    Unfortunately this is very common with people who suffered abuse because it's just too hard to escape the thoughts about the past so people turn to self medication to forget or to numb the pain. I think the best solution is to just have someone to talk to who will understand you because sometimes it can serve as a good enough therapy just to be able to talk about it win someone who will get it fully.
  3. hellonamesdana

    hellonamesdana Senior Contributor

    The two things may be correlated, but it definitely doesn't mean that with one must come the other. I think that people turn to drugs and alcohol when they're going through a lot of things in the hopes that the drugs and alcohol will help them forget about the pain and suffering they're in or help them forget about something horrible that happened to them in the past. But there are ways to prevent this from happening, and just because it has happened to people in the past does not mean that it's going to happen to you.
  4. RoseK

    RoseK Active Contributor

    I agree with you completely. I used to numb myself because I felt that my brain couldn't process or deal with certain things that happened/or were told happened to me by other family members. It is a long journey that involves not only learning new coping strategies but learning who you are, as well as loving and forgiving yourself.
  5. tasha

    tasha Community Listener Community Listener

    Drugs and alcohol are an escape from reality but what we dont understand is that we cannot do it forever and either the people we love will be effected and the chain continues or our bodies will take a beating eventually. It does not happen overnight and it takes a very long time to deal with the pain, humilliation, anger, hurt and embarresment but once you have been able to open up, it is a lot easier to begin a life free from all that anguish that has been bottled up inside and once you can understand that you are not damaged and it is not your fault, then a brand new life with grand opportunities awaits you.
    Peninha likes this.
  6. Peninha

    Peninha Community Champion

    Being sexually abused has to mess us up, so like you say tasha we just find a way to escape reality. Therapy might be a good help, better than consuming drugs for example.
  7. notodrugs

    notodrugs Community Listener Community Listener

    I've had counselees who had been sexually abused or assaulted but they turned out well. One even had a very positive outlook accepting the fact that it was something she couldn't control and she was powerless at that time. But the best that I remember was a friend whose own dad did it to her, not once, but all throughout her growing years. Never did I suspect that she was a victim because she was cheerful, sociable and well-adjusted. And when she told me about it, she still cried hard though she has already forgiven her dad. Tell you what, she has never tried drugs or other substances, has no problem with drinking and smoking. She is successful and blessed with a fulfilling career and blissful family life. Indeed, "life is how you make it".
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2015
  8. Peninha

    Peninha Community Champion

    We have one of the most famous examples in the US, Oprah, she was abused and she managed a good life for herself. So it's a matter of letting things go and make our best efforts.
  9. Bonzer

    Bonzer Community Champion

    The trauma from sexual abuse could be brain numbing. Not all victims can take it. Some take to alcoholism whereas some can fall into substance abuse. The bitterness of the experience, anger, frustration, and other negative vibes coerce them into drug abuse.

    People who can't get over it by themselves should seek professional help.
  10. juno

    juno Community Champion

    People who have been sexually abused express their feelings about it in different ways. Some act out and use drugs to numb the thoughts and forget the feelings they have about it. Unfortunately, it will lead to addiction. So, when you see a therapist about your drug use, it essentially leads to the real motif behind the use and resolving that issue, which is a sort of trauma that you need to work through.
  11. tasha

    tasha Community Listener Community Listener

    We have had many people who have been victims of sexual abuse and worst of all it is usually someone that they have trusted and loved. So for the trust to be broken is already damage in itself. When these people get to us they are far gone already as they have felt worthless and been made to feel guilty as though they are the ones that have been in the wrong and this is a reason that they take to drugs or alcohol. Another reason is to forget what happened but it doesn't help because when we work them they do remember the trauma and bad things and sometimes feel so guilty that they don't want to talk about it. Its a hard life and we have to do what we can to make the most of what we get but escaping with alcohol and drugs is actually no escape at all. It just gets you deeper and deeper.
  12. Nergaahl

    Nergaahl Community Champion

    Sexual abuse may lead to depression, then substance abuse. Also, many drug users tend to sexually abuse people. Rape leaves horrible memories and scars on one's brain, so the victims may use drugs or alcohol to forget about what has been done to them.
  13. tasha

    tasha Community Listener Community Listener

    They do and they have a vulnerability from the broken trust in their homes which leads them to follow others that will take their pain away but it doesn't, it just substitutes or hides the pain for a little while but you have to face the world and issues eventually to get freedom to live a happy life and there is freedom and life after horrific events.
  14. recovered

    recovered Member

    I have been there and I can honestly say that if you turn to substances as an outlet for the pain you create even more damage to yourself. The shame, frustration, nightmares and pain all return when the high is gone, when sobriety returns. By using an unhealthy habit as a coping mechanism you destroy your chance of having a voice. If you are artistic I highly suggest you turn towards music or art, express yourself through any creative means to be seen, heard and unleash yourself of the burden your feelings create in a natural manner.
  15. Ali16

    Ali16 Senior Contributor

    I am sure that my being abused played a part in leading to my substance abuse issues. I used as a way to escape the memories and pain of what happened to me. I also used to self medicate many of the symptoms of PTSD brought about by the abuse. My abusers were also heavily into substance abuse and introduced me to it as a way of controlling me so that didn't help things any either.
  16. harold

    harold Community Champion

    I believe that addiction and sexual abuse go hand in hand. It is very easy for an addict to be sexually abused. There are always useless people out there waiting for just one opportunity to take advantage of vulnerable people. Mostly, when you are high on drugs, you do not even know what you are doing and at that moment, you can easily be sexually abused. On the other hand, sexually abused people tend to seek comfort in drugs. They are so traumatized by the experience they went through that they prefer to take drugs and get out of their minds. It is rather unfortunate! I think your counselor is right on this one. It is better to take his advice.
  17. Mzpeaceful1

    Mzpeaceful1 Active Contributor

    So many people use drugs to numb their feelings or just shut down so when someone has been sexually abused they need to find a way to escape that pain that they are dealing with. Some may cut themselves while others turn to drug abuse. Each individual looks for their own may to numb the pain in which they are feeling. They don't know how to handle what has happened to them and are afraid and ashamed to talk to anyone so they bury themselves in self medication. It is very tragic.
  18. kgord

    kgord Community Champion

    Well, I am sure this true, however, plenty of sex abuse victims do not have substance abuse issues. It is just something that you will need to decide for yourself if SAit is a problem for you in your life and why it started. I think that individuals who have substance abuse issues are no more or less likely to have undergo sexual abuse as a child.