Incest is a serious issue that we rarely talk about. Incest survivors are often plagued by shame, embarrassment and misplaced guilt. When a child or young adult is sexually abused by a trusted family member, it can cause lasting damage, depression and even PTSD.
These problems can be difficult to deal with, and many survivors of incest try anything to make the horrible memories disappear and may turn to drugs or alcohol. If you are struggling with addiction after surviving sexual abuse, you are not alone. There are helpful resources and treatment programs that are designed to make things better for you.
Drug and Alcohol Abuse after Incest
Incest can cause lasting emotional and physical problems that carry on into adulthood. Incest may be more common than you think. The National Center for Victims of Crime (http://www.ncvc.org) states that incest is the most common type of child abuse. Over ten million people in the United States have been victims of incest, yet most of these people are not aware that they are not alone.
No person is at fault for incest. Even if the situation was atypical or non-violent, as a young person you were not in a place of control in order to be able to change the situation. Even if you kept the incest a secret at the time it happened, you are not at fault. If incest has affected your life, you can get past this terrible situation with the right support.
Unaddressed incest can lead to the following:
- Low self-esteem
- Relationship difficulties
- Problems coping with stress
- Posttraumatic stress disorder
- Physical illnesses
- Panic attacks and depression
- Alcoholism and drug abuse
Many people struggle with drug or alcohol addiction after an abusive past. In some cases the abuser is the one who originally introduced drugs and alcohol to the abused person. Many people use drugs and alcohol as a way to numb painful feelings or let go of intrusive memories. Unfortunately the use of toxic substances leads to addiction and even more problems.
Integrated Treatment for Survivors of Abuse
Integrated treatment combines mental health care and counseling with the best in addiction treatment to help you overcome both emotional distress and addiction in the same location. Because your treatment team understands and specializes in addressing abuse-related issues, you can get better faster and with more support than in traditional drug rehab.