Do the Signs of Being Sexually Abused as a Baby Show Up Later in Life?

Question by Libby: Do the signs of being sexually abused as a baby show up later in life?
What I mean by this is….if you were sexually abused as a baby would you show emotional signs of abuse when you are older? And what would they be?

Best answer:

Answer by drdr
Emotional deprivation and abuse can result in emotional disorder later in life, or not, depending on multiple factors (genetic predisposition, social intervention, etc.). Self-diagnosis is probably self-defeating. If you believe you have a problem, you should seek psychological counseling. Self-destructive/self-defeating behavior may also be a subconscious (not something one recognizes as a motivator) means of drawing the attention of others, so that they can provide help. It is more effective to directly seek help from a properly qualified counselor. A psychotherapist cannot provide a cure, they can only provide guidance toward techniques that have worked for others, and some treatment relies on changing behavior.

Behavior comes down to habit, change your habits to change yourself. Thinking positively about one’s self and doing what needs to be done (particularly when it is hard to do) can go a long way, and thinking positive thoughts is more effective than trying to suppress negative thoughts. It has been proven that even fake laughter triggers a biochemical reaction in the brain that positively alters one’s perspective.
Establishing a habit to replace a habit that is the result of many years of practice is very difficult, particularly if it involves behavior that has become a character trait. If you start slow and gradually increase you will have a better chance of making it a habit. Of course, it will take 3 weeks or more to establish a replacement habit, and longer if it involves a firmly entrenched trait. One must commit to doing something they don’t want to do.

All mental processes are bio-chemical in nature. And, depression can be triggered by defective assimilation of sugar. One should not underestimate the effects of proper diet (minimal sugar, avoid processed and refined foods; seek out whole grains, fruits and vegetables, seeds and nuts), avoiding drugs (legal and illegal) and alcohol, and adequate sleep (consistent each day and preferably more than 7 hours), which are essential for optimal physical and mental functioning. ADHD can be treated in this way. And, meditation has been proven to reduce stress (many books are available). Also, self-absorption can be associated with some level of depression.

The American Journal of Physiology (Sep 2011) explained how exercise improves memory, treats depression, and makes people feel better. Dr. Gabe Mirkin’s E-Zine, Exercise Increases Mitochondria in Brain Cells: “Exercise increases the size and number of mitochondria in the brains of mice (American Journal of Physiology). … This could explain how exercise improves memory, treats depression, and makes people feel better and helps them to think more clearly.”

Examination of clinical research indicates that “antidepressants are not much better than placebos – dummy pills with no active ingredients in them at all. But that was only part of the story. Many of the studies sponsored by the drug companies were never published at all. They had been withheld from the public and even from the doctor.” [I. Kirsch, The Emperor’s New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth]

Depression self-help:;
WebMD depression health check:
National Mental Health Association Hotline
800-969-NMHA (6642)

American Psychological Association therapist locator:

Self-pity is easily the most destructive of the nonpharmaceutical narcotics; it is addictive, gives momentary pleasure and separates the victim from reality.
John W. Gardner

A man is but the product of his thoughts, what he thinks, he becomes.
Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.
John Milton, Paradise Lost, Chapter 1 (1667)