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Harassment Aftermath

Question:

One of my friends was sexually harassed in school being touched everywhere by many guys, and now all she can think about are guys raping her. She knows this isn’t normal behavior but all the time everyday and night she has these horrible images of her getting kidnapped or raped she wonders if shes crazy. What should she do to get these images out of her mind its like there stamped in her brain.

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Answer:

Your friend may be dealing with something in the post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) spectrum, although only a qualified mental health doctor can say for sure. I’d recommend she get herself evaluated by a competent mental health doctor to learn whether this or some other treatable condition may be associated with her suffering.

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p> PTSD and related conditions occur when someone is exposed to a traumatic (death or death-like, or self-concept shattering) experience and cannot come to terms with that experience in the due course of living thereafter. Severe anxiety and sometimes dissociation symptoms can occur. Treatment (medicines and psychotherapy) are available and can be helpful, but there is no ‘cure’ for memory. The way out is ultimately through, meaning that while symptoms can be suppressed with medication and supportive interventions, to truly break free of the trauma, it is more or less necessary to gradually come to terms with it, to rebuild your shattered sense of security in the world, and to learn to live your life in spite of the fact that life is a risky business. Self-confidence building activities such as martial arts, or activities that help people reconnect with their physical bodies in a calming way (e.g., yoga) can sometimes be helpful too.

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