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What are the lifelong consequences of sexual abuse in childhood?

Bonnie Lynn Wright, PhD
Geriatrics Nursing

Adverse childhood events include sexual abuse.  These events have a profound impact on the developing brain that results in a wide variety of long term outcomes.  According to Lanius, Vermetten and Pain in the book, The Impact of Early Life Trauma on Health and Disease (2010), indicate a litany of health problems adults who were abused as children exhibit, such as:

  • depression
  • addiction
  • anxiety
  • suicidality
  • PTSD
  • antisocial and violent behaviours
  • personality disorders
  • sexual disorders
  • smoking
  • liver disease
  • heart disease
  • poor work performance

This is not an exhaustive list.  It certainly indicates that early life trauma, such as sexual abuse, can have a profound and comprehensive impact on an individual throughout their lifetime. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.