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Is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Curable?

Question:

My parents, after 18 years of marriage, went through a separation. My father sexually abused me a couple of times. This led to me telling my mother and the divorce finalizing. This event happened when I was around 16. I would cry every day, see constant images of the events, and, if my father touched me I would scrape my skin as though to remove his touch.  I would envy children with good fathers.

I started cutting myself, drinking alcohol untill stomach pain ensued and I tried to over dose on pills to. I am now 21 and believe that i am cured, except for the empty, fearful feeling in my chest that does not let me sleep. Sometimes, at night, I relive the terrible bad memory. I cannot concentrate and am failing my university classes.

Why is this happening? Is their anyway to fix my bad memory and my concentration problem? Maybe vitamin supplements?

Thank you.

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Answer:

The very first thing that jumps out at me is that you could possibly be experiencing depression. Difficulty with sleep, lost concentration at school and feeling empty inside are rather typical symptoms of someone who is feeling depressed.

Of course, this in no way means that you are not dealing with PTSD as well. In either case, you need to see a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist to get a proper diagnosis. Treatment will follow the diagnosis and that will most probably be in the form of medication and psychotherapy.

I cannot know for sure, but I had the thought, as I read your E. Mail, that you could be blaming yourself for you parents’ divorce. It has to do with the way you wrote it above. You seem to imply that your mother went for divorce after you told her about the sexual abuse. Now, I am not saying that this makes sense but many things we think, especially when we are young, do not make sense. It is common for children who have been sexually or physically abused, to blame themselves. In fact, it is common for children to blame themselves when their parents divorce.

No, vitamins will not help you feel better emotionally and, by the way, you are not “cured.”

Seek therapy now so that you can see your way clear to living a full life.

Best of Luck

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