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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5998
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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I was sexually abused several times when I was younger and

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I was sexually abused several times when I was younger and now it seems as if I am really experiencing side effects. I can't get help because I am too scared to. I get anxiety thinking about it. Having serious conversations makes me very uncomfortable. I keep to myself and can't even talk to my parents. They have no idea about what happened to me. The obvious thing for me to do is to get help and talk to someone, but I can't so I feel stuck. I feel as if virtual help is the only help I can get without getting anxiety. Even talking over the phone makes uncomfortable. I don't know what to do and need help. I feel as if I am stuck like this forever. It's very tough not being able to talk to anyone in person. I kept the secret of getting sexually abused for so long and I feel as if this has caused me to keep everything in. I suffer from anxiety attacks, hypochondria, and VERY low self esteem. I want to be able to talk to people, over the phone and in person. I want to lay down at night and feel safe. I want to just feel like I'm good enough. How can I get better when i can't even talk to anyone?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Kaushik replied 1 year ago.
Greetings !

Welcome to the site.

I am Dr. Kaushik and I am a psychiatrist and I believe I can help you with your problem.

First of all I am sorry to learn about your traumatic past and I empathize with you.

The emotional trauma of having been sexual abused was such a devastating event for you as it would have been for any one else that it lead to development of what is clinically termed as PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder) and the ruminations and flashbacks of the event which disgust and mortify you to the core are emotional implications of PTSD and these have a tendency to form a vicious cycle and repeat themselves again and again.

So basically I am humbly and earnestly trying to tell you that your emotional trauma of past sexual abuse can be brought to a closure only when you can express your emotions whole heartedly and express your anguish and get the load off your chest.

So it is essential for you to seek professional counseling in the form of CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) from a psychologist or psychotherapist which will help with the process of catharsis (venting out of emotional pain pertinent to the traumatic life experience).

I agree that at the moment seeking professional help may seem like a distant goal when you are finding it overly difficult to talk to your parents and friends whom you trust and rely on but sometimes it is difficult to open up in front of known close relations but easier to confide in a non - judgmental professional who may be a stranger for you but with the use of CBT he/she can help you overcome your sorrow and learn coping skills to endure and tackle this stress that you have been carrying on your shoulders .

Now if after all of this explanation you still find that you are incapable of opening up your emotional wounds and expressing your pain to a professional or to a confidante then I will propose that you seek from your primary doctor a prescription of an anti depressant drug such as lexapro (generic -escitalopram) at dose of 10 mg/day which will not only improve your low mood but also it shall give you some courage to go out of your inhibition and open up and emote whole heartedly so as to burden your emotional trauma.

If getting prescription for this drug is not possible then an alternative to this is that you can seek a herbal drug called as St. John's wort from a pharmacy which shall be available off shelf without prescription , this herb has an effective anti depressant action and it shall help you to overcome your present phase.

I hope this helps.

Wish you all the best.

Please kindly leave a Positive rating if you are satisfied with the answer .

Regards
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Can you tell me more about St. John's wort

Expert:  Dr. Z replied 1 year ago.
Hello there,

I am so sorry that you have been experiencing these symptoms related to your sexual abuse. I agree that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) seems to be a likely cause for your symptoms. Here is a link explaining PTSD in more detail for you.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/post-traumatic-stress-disorder/DS00246

I would also like to expand on the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) that was briefly mentioned because this is considered the best therapy modality to treat your symptoms of PTSD. CBT has a premise that your symptoms are caused by negative thoughts, so if we change your thought process to be more positive and objective as well, then your symptoms will lessen. Here are a few CBT techniques that I would like to teach you as they are very effective.

So this link may help you, it contains a technique I use with patients called a thought record. It will help you keep track of any negative thoughts you have. You put the negative thought on paper, the emotion accompanying, the evidence to support it, and the evidence against it. Then I want you to come up with an alternative thought for the situation (more objective and plausible). This will help you change your way of thinking to be able to think more positive and not automatically go to a negative type of thinking.

http://www.psychologytools.org/assets/files/Worksheets/CBT_Thought_Record.pdf

In addition, these two worksheets are very good at helping lessen anxiety and depressive symptoms related to PTSD. It can help you focus on the big picture and the objective/positive thoughts and outcomes.

http://media.psychologytools.org/Worksheets/English/Decatastrophising.pdf

http://media.psychologytools.org/Worksheets/English/What_If.pdf

This is a good worksheet on helping you gain more self-confidence. It will help you replace your negative self-critical thoughts, with more positive self-beliefs.

http://media.psychologytools.org/Worksheets/English/Positive_Belief_Record.pdf

Also individuals with severe anxiety and depressive symptoms associated with PTSD have a poor coping mechanism, so this worksheet will help you develop a better coping strategy to manage your symptoms better.

http://media.psychologytools.org/Worksheets/English/TRAP_TRAC.pdf

These books are also really effective in helping manage symptoms associated with PTSD as well.

http://www.amazon.com/The-PTSD-Workbook-Techniques-Overcoming/ dp/1608827038/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1380645159&sr=8-1&keywords=ptsd+workbook

http://www.amazon.com/Overcoming-Trauma-PTSD-Workbook-Integrating/dp/1608822869/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1380645161&sr=8-2&keywords=ptsd+workbook

http://www.amazon.com/Mind-Body-Workbook-PTSD-10-Week-Program/dp/1572249234/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1380645161&sr=8-3&keywords=ptsd+workbook

So I know that the previous expert gave you some medication advice regarding the use of Lexapro, but I also wanted to give you other options that have been researched as very effective for PTSD, so that you have more informed choices to choose from. Here is a link of medications that have been effective in managing the symptoms of PTSD.

http://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/pages/clinicians-guide-to-medications-for-ptsd.asp

Also you asked about St. Johns Wort. St. Johns Wort has great anti-depressant properties because it inhibits the reuptake of serotonin (much like the SSRI and SNRI antidepressants, but to a lesser degree), so this way there is more Serotonin being present in your system, which is a proven neurotransmitter to decrease anxiety and depression, and improve your mood. Other possible natural supplements that you can take to improve your mood are Omega-3 (fish oil), and also the supplement Glutamate can decrease anxiety as well. Now if you choose to use the prescription antidepressants or other prescription medications I mentioned in the link I gave you, you should not use the natural supplements with them, except for the Omega-3.

In addition, if you need recommendations on a good CBT therapist that specializes in treating PTSD in your area, you can use this link. All you need to do is put your zip code in and then select from a drop down menu on the left side for the different specialties to narrow down your list of therapists.

http://therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms/?tr=Hdr_SubBrand

I hope this added information was helpful to you and I wish you the best of luck with your treatment. My goal is to provide you with excellent service, so if you ever have any further questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me at anytime.
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5998
Experience: Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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Dr. Z
Dr. Z
Psychologist
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Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.