[Recognizing signs of sexual abuse]
SourceNederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde, 160, 0, (2016), article D546
Article / Letter to editor
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Primary and Community Care
Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde
SubjectRadboudumc 18: Healthcare improvement science RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences
Sexual abuse is very common. In the Netherlands 42% of women and 13% of men aged over 25 years have experienced unacceptable sexual behaviour. Most victims do not seek professional help nor do they report the abuse to the police, and most of the victims who do seek medical help do not mention the abuse. Doctors often do not recognize the signs of sexual abuse. Most victims of rape have symptoms that may develop into posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) if they persist for more than 4 weeks, such as sleep problems or panic attacks. Victims of sexual abuse also more often develop a psychiatric disorder or medically unexplained symptoms (MUS). Doctors should ask about sexual abuse in cases of MUS or unexplained mental problems. The complications of abuse can be treated with eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) or cognitive processing therapy (CPT).
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