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Childhood sexual abuse can range from painless to traumatizingly painful. Oftentimes, victims may experience immediate injury, STIs, or pregnancy. However, childhood sexual abuse is also linked to many long-term consequences for physical health. The level of support a survivor receives can have a direct influence on long-term outcomes. One survivor might get counseling early and go on to experience mental, emotional, and physical healthy life. Another victim may never receive treatment and go on to experience any combination of the many possible effects listed below.
Data shows that adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse are at higher risk of developing:
In addition to these direct physical health consequences, the psychological, emotional, and behavioral effects further contribute to poor physical health and associated conditions.
Depression and anxiety can lead to suicide, suicide attempts, and self-injury. Sexual risk behavior can lead to increased rates of STIs, HIV, pregnancy, and abortion.
Substance abuse poses a high risk to physical health in many ways, including an increased risk of:
Eating disorders lead to a wide range of serious physical health conditions, including:
The physical effects of childhood sexual abuse are highly complex. Physical health consequences are closely tied to the psychological and behavioral health of a victim. Psychological symptoms can manifest as coping mechanisms for dealing with the unresolved trauma of sexual abuse in childhood.