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Symptom Checklist - Survivors Healing Center

FMSF News Alert - May 8, 2013

Dear Friends,

An FMSF member recently sent us a quote from the Survivors Healing Center website and asked us to comment. The passage is eerily similar to those we saw in the early 90s, but if you look closely, you will note that the ‘signs of past sexual abuse’ are couched with "may be."

"Do you experience depression, anxiety, panic attacks, flashbacks, difficulty sleeping, nightmares, or difficulty being intimate with your partner? These may be responses to childhood sexual abuse. You don’t have to feel this way forever. You can begin healing now."
-- Survivors Healing Center

It is now 2013. We found the most disturbing aspect of this web site not the "maybe" symptom checklist for past sexual abuse, but rather the lack of current information about how to cure the symptoms in the list.

If an elbow is broken, it does not matter what caused the break. It is the broken elbow that is treated. There are therapies and medications that have been tested and shown to be effective treatments for most of the symptoms listed above.


According to the National Institute of Mental Health website: "The first step to getting appropriate treatment is to visit a doctor or mental health specialist. Certain medications, and some medical conditions such as viruses or a thyroid disorder, can cause the same symptoms as depression. A doctor can rule out these possibilities by doing a physical exam, interview, and lab tests. If the doctor can find no medical condition that may be causing the depression, the next step is a psychological evaluation."

Many studies have shown that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a particularly effective treatment for depression, especially minor or moderate depression. Some people with depression may be successfully treated with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy only. Others may need both Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and medication. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy helps people with depression restructure negative thought patterns. Doing so helps people interpret their environment and interactions with others in a positive and realistic way. It may also help a person recognize things that may be contributing to the depression and help him or her change behaviors that may be making the depression worse.

Interpersonal Therapy has also been shown to be effective in treating depression. That type of therapy helps people understand and work through troubled relationships that may cause their depression or make it worse.

Anxiety and Panic Attacks

In addition to various medications, Cognitive-behavioral therapy is very useful in treating anxiety disorders, according to the National Institute of Mental Health website. The cognitive part helps people change the thinking patterns that support their fears, and the behavioral part helps people change the way they react to anxiety-provoking situations.
Treatment of Anxiety Disorders

For example, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can help people with panic disorder learn that their panic attacks are not really heart attacks and help people with social phobia learn how to overcome the belief that others are always watching and judging them. When people are ready to confront their fears, they are shown how to use exposure techniques to desensitize themselves to situations that trigger their anxieties.

Difficulty Sleeping

There are many different sleep disorders and a vast amount of research has been conducted on the problems and the solutions. As in the problems above, an examination by a medical doctor to rule out physical reasons for the problem is a first step.

Insomnia is one kind of sleep disorder. People have trouble falling asleep, they don’t stay asleep and they don’t get enough sleep. Insomnia can be successfully treated with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

According to the Mayo Clinic website: "Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia is a structured program that helps you identify and replace thoughts and behaviors that cause or worsen sleep problems with habits that promote sound sleep. Unlike sleeping pills, cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia helps you overcome the underlying causes of your sleep problems."
Insomnia Treatment