ROCHESTER, Minn., July 13 (UPI) — A history of sexual abuse is linked to suicide attempts, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, eating and sleep disorders, U.S. researchers say.
“Survivors of sexual abuse are commonly seen in general medical practice,” principal investigator Dr. Ali Zirakzadeh of the Mayo Clinic says in a statement. “Sexual abuse survivors face a challenging spectrum of physical and mental health symptoms, which results in high healthcare utilization, oftentimes without improvement in quality of life.”
Prevalence rates of sexual abuse are as high as 21 percent in adults and some primary care practices have 25 percent of patients as former abuse victims, the study says.
“The good news for patients is that physicians are now more aware of the link between abuse and psychiatric illness so that abuse survivors may be more readily identified and referred to specialists for treatment,” Zirakzadeh says. “We hope that heightened awareness in clinical practice leads to improved outcomes for our patients.”
The findings are published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
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