Sex abuse walks hand in hand with “mental illness” according to study

Sexual abuse victims make likely targets for mental health professionals according to Mayo Clinic researchers. Such anyway is my take on a post at Psych Central, Mental Disorders Often Follow Sexual Abuse.

Researchers have discovered that a history of sexual abuse is frequently linked with a lifetime diagnosis of multiple psychiatric disorders.

Sexual abuse victims then make good chronic sufferers of multiple mental disorders. I wince, maybe if they didn’t make such good chronic sufferers, hope for recovery (re: resilience) would be more conceivable to them.

Findings presented in the July issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings link a history of sexual abuse with suicide attempts, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorders, depression, and eating and sleep disorders.

The victim role has long had its advocates. By way of antidote, I would suggest studying human resilience, and then looking at what might separate non-resilient humanity from their more resilient kin. Victimization, after all, need not be such a terminal condition.

Researchers also explored why some abuse survivors do not experience psychiatric symptoms and suggest that genetic variability may confer a level of protection.

Here’s where the story goes way off.

I imagine that the reason why they look to “genetic variability” is because one of the leading schools of psychiatry has tunnel vision. Theory has it psychiatric disorders have to do with bad genes, therefore, when sexual abuse is involved, other explanations fall by the wayside, and succumb to the prevailing theory.

They’re making a leap here, and it’s a leap that simply disregards alternate explanations, or any potential antithesis.

I’m thinking, dogma.

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3 Responses

  1. The point I was trying to make here, and it’s a point that might otherwise be missed, is that the target of sexual abuse is not determined by genetic makeup, no, the target of sexual abuse is determined by the sexual abuser. If survivors of sexual abuse are labeled ‘mentally ill’ at a higher rate than the rest of the population, this would indicate that something other than heredity was involved in this process of labeling sexually abuse survivors “mentally ill”. This kind of acknowledgment should throw into question any conclusion that the avoidance of such a label is, as the researchers tended to think, mostly a matter of “genetic variability”.

  2. About the point raised in the center of your comment:

    They regard sexual abuse, physical attack, bullying, bereavements, disasters, war etc as handy screening tools with which to diagnose mental illness. And they will always be able to find someone who suffered yet serves as a model of mental health. Like Mandela, yet they choose to forget that Mandela had millions of supporters.

    You’re right. If mental illness is more prevalent amongst victims of attack it suggests the reverse of a genetic theory. But they can fix that easily by suggesting that sexual abuse must occur more often “than we previously thought”.

    That then gives them more scope to hunt for the as yet unknown victims and of course also pre-emptively label the as yet unknown attackers.

    • It takes many people to make a success; it takes many people to make a failure.

      Apparently “mental illness”, given the statistics, is less hereditary than it is not hereitary considering the fact that 90% of schizophrenic parents don’t produce schizophrenic children. 10% may be a few X the ordinary rate of developing schizophrenia, but the environment must explain a little of this higher increase, enough in fact to throw much doubt on a lot of the research done into the genetics of the matter.

      The dogma we are getting on the subject is just that, dogma. We are essientially at a place where we are warned about exploring beyond the bounds of accepted presumption for the fear of falling off the edge of the world.

      Biological medical model psychiatry starts from the acknowledgment that the source of ‘mental illness’ is unknown, and then commenses to obscure that awareness with presumption. This is not about science, this is about a profession stacking the deck in its favor in order to gain the appearence of legitimacy. This is about hierarchies. This is about status and domination games. Science requires a degree of critical thought. Science, after all, is not about proving theories correct so much as it is about disproving theories. Science is not the truth, the scientific method is only a way by which we arrive at the truth. I think there is a big danger here that some people will confuse the assumptions guiding experimentation with a conclusive result.

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