Sexual assault and alcohol or drugs often go hand-in-hand. The same is true for sexual abuse and addictions, including substances, sexual complusiveness, porn use, gambling and others.
Substances can play a role both before and after unwanted sexual activity. People involved in sexual violence or sexual aggression are often under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In the aftermath of sexual abuse or sexual assault, alcohol and drugs can be a way for victims to numb the emotional pain, shame, guilt, and fear they feel.
Sexual abuse is considered an adverse childhood experience (ACE). The more ACEs, the greater vulnerability to alcohol addiction or drug addiction. Some research has found that sexual abuse as an ACE is one of the strongest predictors of future substance abuse. People who experience child abuse of any kind, may drink alcohol or use drugs as coping mechanisms. This can be a way to self-medicate the emotions and difficulties that stem from an ACE.
Common emotions and issues tied to sexual abuse and addiction include:
Using substances to mask these issues can quickly lead to drug or alcohol dependence.
Getting help for Sexual Trauma and Addiction Addressing the emotions and fears stemming from trauma, sexual abuse or sexual assault is difficult but can also be relieving and empowering. To overcome the unhealthy coping skills that you’ve used as survival tools, you must explore the underlying issues that are contributing to substance abuse. You also need to develop healthy ways to cope with triggers and challenges.
Men and Trauma can help you make sense of your addictions and recovery from a trauma informed approach.
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