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It has been commonly assumed that focusing on children’s issues too long will negatively impact their recovery.
Therefore, the parental caregiver teaches the child to mask his or her issues." In many jurisdictions, abuse that is suspected, not necessarily proven, requires reporting to child protection agencies, such as the Child Protection Services in the United States.
Adults who have been sexually abused as children often present for treatment with a secondary mental health issue, which can include substance abuse, eating disorders, personality disorders, depression, and conflict in romantic or interpersonal relationships.
Generally, the approach is to focus on the present problem, rather than the abuse itself.
Child sexual abuse can occur in a variety of settings, including home, school, or work (in places where child labor is common).
The American Psychological Association states that "children cannot consent to sexual activity with adults", and condemns any such action by an adult: "An adult who engages in sexual activity with a child is performing a criminal and immoral act which never can be considered normal or socially acceptable behavior."A study funded by the USA National Institute of Drug Abuse found that "Among more than 1,400 adult females, childhood sexual abuse was associated with increased likelihood of drug dependence, alcohol dependence, and psychiatric disorders.
The associations are expressed as odds ratios: for example, women who experienced nongenital sexual abuse in childhood were 2.83 times more likely to suffer drug dependence as adults than were women who were not abused." Child abuse, including sexual abuse, especially chronic abuse starting at early ages, has been found to be related to the development of high levels of dissociative symptoms, which includes amnesia for abuse memories.
Recent research showed that females with high exposure to child sexual abuse (CSA) suffer PTSD symptoms that are associated with poor social functioning, which is also supported by prior research studies.
The feeling of being “cut-off” from peers and “emotional numbness” are both results of CSA and highly inhibit proper social functioning.