Sexually Abused Girls Twice as Likely to Develop Psychosis

BrainNew research published in The British Journal of Psychiatry indicates that women with a history of sexual abuse as children are twice as likely to develop psychosis. Psychosis is usually defined by the experience of delusions (i.e., persistent belief in something that all evidence indicates is not possible) and/or hallucinations (i.e., hearing voices) and is the hallmark of schizophrenia. Interestingly, the researchers did not find that the same relationship with regard to boys who experienced abuse. They speculate that girls tend to internalize the effects of abuse, while boys tend to act out - leading them to more anti-social types of consequences. This research suggests that, following abuse, early intervention can help prevent the isolation, lack of trust, and suspiciousness that can increase the likelihood of psychosis. Psychological therapy for people who have been sexually abused is a typically longer term and requires specialized expertise on the part of therapists.  Finding help, while essential, is not easy. Contacting your family doctor or state/provincial or local psychological organizations can be helpful in finding a psychologist since "word of mouth" referrals are complicated by the private nature of the issues and services surrounding abuse. You can read more here.

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