According to several estimates, more than 300,000 people in the United States are victims of sexual assault and rape each year. As if the mental and physical pain felt during and after these experiences wasn’t enough, many of these people will turn to drugs and alcohol to cope—developing issues with addiction in the process. Addiction is a complicated disease, and co-existing conditions like unresolved trauma from sexual abuse must be treated alongside addiction in order to truly heal.
Sexual Abuse and Addiction Statistics to Know
According to the American Psychological Association, one in four girls and one in six boys report instances of sexual abuse before the age of 18. It is likely that many other cases go unreported.
Adults who experienced sexual abuse as children are significantly more likely to become dependent on drugs or alcohol.
The American Journal on Addictions reports three-fourths of the women entering substance abuse programs have dealt with sexual abuse. And other studies indicate that more than 90 percent of women struggling with alcoholism have been sexually abused.
Identifying Sexual Abuse Symptoms
Sexual abuse can leave long-lasting scars that may manifest as:
- Emotional responses like guilt and fear
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Development of eating disorders
- Changes in sexual behavior
- Lower self-esteem
Gender-Specific Treatment for Addiction and Sexual Abuse
It can be difficult to open up about sexual abuse—particularly in front of members of the opposite sex. Gender-specific treatment can be one way to foster feelings of security.
Studies show that women who receive gender-specific treatment are more likely to complete their programs. Differences in men and women’s physical makeup often alter the way they process addiction, which is why it’s important for them to receive credible and safe gender-specific care. Societal and psychological differences also contribute to different recovery experiences.
Benefits of Gender-Specific Treatment
Both men and women who have experienced sexual abuse and turned to drugs or alcohol to cope respond differently to the idea of treatment.
For women, they may feel like they can’t take time off of their household and family responsibilities. For men, the expectation to be strong and fix things on their own may make them feel that asking for help means they’re weak. And for victims in general, they may feel like ashamed or believe that they’re at fault for their abuse, so they don’t deserve help.
But the truth is, everyone struggling with sexual abuse and addiction deserves the support they need to heal. Gender-specific treatment provides many benefits to get people on the path to recovery. These benefits include:
- Providing a safe, judgment-free space to talk about sexual abuse with other men or women
- An opportunity to develop trusting relationships with other men or women going through the exact same experience you are
- Private, gender-specific residences for you to retreat to after your days of treatment and therapy.
Get Help for Sexual Abuse and Addiction
Gender-specific group therapy is a valuable part of the treatment program at Footprints Beachside Recovery. The recovery plans are further personalized to help treat the underlying causes of each individual’s addiction. No two people or cases are alike, and we adjust our approach accordingly. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction and the fallout from sexual abuse, it is possible to heal. Talk to one of our specialists today.