Archives for 

multiple personality disorder

Childhood Sexual Abuse and Mental Health

Mental Health and Childhood Sexual Abuse – Don’t Carry the Secret

Recently I saw something on Facebook that was very sad.  It was a video of a 50 plus year old man named Scott – also called “Spider,” who told the story of his life through written cards, in a fashion similar to Ben Breedlove’s “This is my story” about his heart condition. In the video, this tough looking man, confessed the trauma of his own sexual abuse and the damage it had done to him over the years – drug abuse, divorce, culminating in an arrest for beating his child’s sexual predator with a bat.

The story was naturally sad but is all too common.  In fact, statistics shows that 1 in 6 boys will be sexually molested by the age of 18 and worse for girls with 1 in 3.  The other sad fact is that many, many children who are sexually abused don’t tell anyone.  Either they are threatened or ashamed – or both.  They carry the secret for much of their lives.

Trauma, abuse, neglect – biology didn’t account for its infliction on children.  As children, our brains develop best in a loving,
supportive environment with plenty of nutritional food and quality exercise so that our bodies become the best they can be.  Childhood Trauma - Mental HhealthAround the world we see the damage that poor nutrition, neglect and physical abuse can do to children.  What is not so obvious is the damage wreaked by sexual abuse – it is a hidden traumaSexual abuse is hidden by the child, hidden from the adults, hidden from other children, and sometimes even hidden by the child’s memory.

Secrets are always dark.  Carrying secrets can ruin a relationship or ruin a career.  Carrying secrets imposes a burden of stress on your body – your heart doesn’t work as well, your adrenal system gets burned out, your sleep is affected.  Carrying a secret like that can change a child’s brain.

Studies have shown that abuse or childhood trauma actually causes physical changes to the developing brain.  It can make the child unable to grow to what they would have been.

So what does this have to do with mental health?

The effects of childhood trauma are hard to predict.  Mental health is hard to identify – particularly the cause.  In some cases, we can easily point to the parents and say “Mom and Grandma have clinical depression; it is no surprise that the daughter has depression.”  Schizophrenia has been shown to be driven by over 100 genes and a child with one schizophrenic person has a 13 percent chance of developing the disorder.  Some people are “born” alcoholics in that they are missing an enzyme that allows them to process alcohol properly and will nearly always become addicted if they drink.

In other cases – we can’t identify the cause.  You have some cases of mental disorders that develop in people with perfect childhoods.  You have people with horrible experiences who are remarkably healthy – rare, but true.  In many cases though, someone with a history of child abuse will develop some mental disorder – but the type is very hard to predict.

In “Spider’s” case, he became a drug addict, had an anger problem and felt that he had to prove he could “conquer” women (his own words), leading to the destruction of his family.  Likely he suffered from depression, anxiety disorder, and possibly Mental Health - Child AbusePost-Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Telling the “secret”, not carrying the weight may, just may have kept him from his self-destructive behavior.  Unfortunately, it may not have stopped his daughter from being a victim, but it might have allowed him better tools than a bat to deal with her problem.

In severe cases, extreme trauma can actually cause the personality to “split,” in “Dissociative Identity Disorder” (DID), which was previously called “Multiple Personality Disorder” (MPD).

(Photo-source: http://blogs.ocweekly.com/navelgazing/2014/08/scott_spider_spideralamode_facebook_molest.php)

Sexual abuse has another problem – that children are often disbelieved which worsens the trauma.  Unlike physical abuse, unlike neglect, unlike starvation – there are no “obvious” signs.  There are signs, but you have to know what they are.  Children who have been sexually abused do exhibit signs:

•    changes in behavior or personality type – a normally outgoing child becomes withdrawn, a normally gregarious child becomes angry and sullen
•    bed wetting and nightmares (oddly the bed-wetting may be punished)
•    refusal to go to school, church, sports or club activities or to a certain friend’s house
•    sudden clinginess or a sudden desire to be left alone

Too often, adults don’t ask.  Too often, children don’t tell.  Sadly, sometimes adults won’t listen.  If you know of a child that has
sudden behavioral changes – ask.  If you are an adult, believe.  If you are a victim, tell.  Even at a late date, telling can change your life and resolve some of your “issues.” I think in the end, “Spider’s” main message was “tell your kids to tell.”

What does this have to do with mental health?

Sexual abuse can contribute to:

PTSD, Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, Intermittent Explosive Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Bulimia, Anorexia, Drug Addiction, Alcoholism, Attachment Disorder… and many more.

History of Child Abuse – Free PDF

Melissa Lind

What One Should Ask a Mental Health Expert

Mental health symptoms

Amnesia LizzardIf a person, a family member, or friend of someone who is in therapy, questions should be asked to avoid problems. All therapist expertise levels various and not all is qualified to diagnose mental illness. If one suspect that a person has a disorder, one should do the best to be extremely accurate on the symptoms, research them and describe them.

Go to a therapist. Then you will know what the issue is, and by researching your symptoms, you will be ahead of the game. If you describe your symptoms thoroughly, you will be better able to prevent incorrect diagnosis.

If you visit a therapist, the therapist will talk to you and listen to your opinion. They will search for signs and disturbances in your thinking patterns.

Therapists will check for symptoms like:

  • Blocking thoughts
  • Peripheral thought patterns
  • Fleeting ideas
  • Paranoia
  • Vague thoughts
  • Break in reality
  • Disassociation

If the patient displays a disturbance in their thinking patterns, the therapist may find psychosis. Counselors will consider schizophrenia or psychosis if the patient shows a change in reality. Paranoia and psychosis may be misconstrued if the mental health expert doesn’t have a good understanding between the two conditions.

Mental Health TherapistSchizophrenics are often paranoid and may suffer from post-traumatic stress in the early stages. If a patient provides answers to questions that are unrelated, the therapist may consider a potential mental illness.

Another area of concern is if the patient speaks in fragments of thoughts and don’t provide complete sentences or ideas. This is known as a fleeting thought process. If a patient is illustrating thoughts that are off the subject, the therapist may also express concern.

Other areas that are considered include language. Some patients may just have a lack of education, but they should be able to speak in a comprehensible manner. It is essential that the patient is not misdiagnosed simply because they have poor communication skills.

Because everyone is different, and they all may have different levels of education, it is essential that the psychological therapist pay attention to symptoms that are linked to mental health.

Be sure to ask the therapist questions any time there is a diagnosis, and on what the diagnosis is based.

For example, if the patient is telling the therapist about a dream and all of a sudden can’t remember what they are talking about, this can be a proof that the patient has suffered trauma. The symptoms are in front of the therapist, but it is wise to continue treatment to confirm the diagnosis.

Many therapists are not trained sufficiently in certain conditions, such as Multiple Personality Disorder. These conditions require that all therapists carefully examine the person because they may only be suffering from dementia.

However, if they are suffering from Multiple Personality Disorder it is usually because they are trying to block traumatic memories to avoid pain.

It is always wise to ask questions when you are visiting a therapist, and this can also help them to avoid any mistakes.

A healthy mind is vital, and mental health should not be taken lightly. Therapists are constantly studying the mind, and often use the guinea pig method until they figure out what the issue is.

Mental health symptoms are serious and should not be taken lightly!