The Leading Treatment Center for Women & Girls Who Are Experiencing Co-Occurring Trauma Due to Sexual Abuse

Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center provides comprehensive, personalized care for adolescent girls and adult women whose struggles with eating disorders or substance use disorders are accompanied by co-occurring trauma related to sexual assault.

About Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse can refer to an unwanted sexual act that is imposed upon a child, an adolescent, or an adult. There are a number of different acts that are considered forms of sexual abuse, which can include both touching and non-touching offenses. Examples of such acts are listed in the following:

  • Engaging in penetrative sexual intercourse with a child (this includes oral sex)
  • Touching a child, whether she is clothed or unclothed, in a sexual manner or in an attempt to gain sexual gratification
  • Fondling a child
  • Encouraging a child to participate in sexual acts (this can include masturbation)
  • Using a child to create pornography
  • Forcing a child to engage in prostitution

One common misconception about child sexual abuse is the fact that this form of abuse is not limited to actual physical contact. In truth, there are other acts that do not involve actually touching the child that are still considered forms of sexual abuse. These acts can include the following:

  • Forcing a child to look at pornography
  • Exposing oneself to a child
  • Forcing a child to witness a sexual act

Regardless of the type of sexual abuse that occurs, or the length of time during which that abuse occurs, the end result can cause a child to be severely traumatized. And, devastatingly, suffering from this type of trauma can have lasting, detrimental impacts on a child’s life, following them well into adulthood.

Signs and Symptoms of Co-Occurring Trauma Related to Sexual Abuse

When a child falls victim to sexual abuse, there are certain signs that she may display that could indicate that she has suffered from this type of trauma.  Examples of such signs and symptoms may include, but are not limited to, the following:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • No longer participating in activities that were once enjoyed
  • Demonstrating a strong fear of being alone
  • Demonstrating fear of a particular person or place
  • Displaying an exaggerated startle response
  • Flinching at sudden movements
  • No longer socializing with friends
  • Decline is academic or occupational performance
  • Isolating oneself from family members
  • Excessive bouts of crying
  • Acting out aggressively
  • Wearing baggy clothes
  • Shying away from any type of physical affection
  • Bathing frequently
  • Engaging in ritualistic eating behaviors
  • Engaging in self-harming behaviors
  • Attempting suicide

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Significant and frequent fluctuations in mood
  • Sense of detachment from oneself and one’s surroundings
  • Feelings of guilt and shame
  • Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and worthlessness
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • Emotional numbness
  • Low self-esteem

Effects of Co-Occurring Trauma Related to Sexual Abuse

When children suffer from the trauma of sexual abuse, the effects that result can be seemingly endless. Subjecting children to these acts can rob them of their childhood and force them into ongoing feelings of shame and guilt. These children often struggle to develop a sense of trust in others, impairing their ability to engage in healthy, meaningful relationships. Additional effects of sexual abuse trauma can include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Experiencing a decline in one’s overall mental health or the worsening of preexisting mental health symptoms
  • Destroyed sense of self-worth
  • Identity confusion
  • Conduct and behavior problems
  • Development of antisocial behaviors and tendencies
  • Suffering from chronic panic attacks
  • Reflecting the behavior that has been imposed on them and become abusers themselves
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Suicidal behaviors

Furthermore, when individuals are subjected to sexual abuse, they frequently seek out a means of alleviating the devastating emotional effects that the abuse elicits. All too often, this alleviation is found through the use of drugs and/or alcohol, as they can act as a numbing agents, allowing individuals to have a temporary reprieve from the distress that plagues them. Drug and/or alcohol addiction can develop rapidly, leading to additional problems and detriments in the lives of these individuals.

Another way in which many individuals attempt to cope with the trauma they are suffering from is to seek out things over which they can have control. When a person is subjected to sexual abuse, they often feel as though any sense of power that they once felt has been stripped away. As a result, they may seek out specific activities to engage in that they can have control over. One example of this can be in attempting to rigidly control their eating behaviors. By restricting the type of food that one consumes, limiting the amount of food that one consumes, eating greater amounts of food and then purging, or engaging in ritualistic eating patterns, individuals can begin to feel as though they have gained control over some facet of their lives. As a result, these individuals may being to suffer from eating disorders, which can include the following:

  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Binge-eating disorder

Why Consider Treatment for Co-Occurring Sexual Abuse Trauma

At Timberline Knolls, we recognize the immense devastation that results from having suffered sexual abuse. We also understand the incredible bravery it takes to seek treatment. For these reasons and more, we offer comprehensive residential programming for women and girls whose struggles with substance use disorders or eating disorders are accompanied by co-occurring PSTD or trauma due to sexual assault.

At Timberline Knolls, treatment for eating disorders, substance use disorders, and co-occurring PTSD or trauma due to sexual assault occurs in a safe and supportive environment. The experienced professionals at Timberline Knoll provide care with the utmost dignity and respect. We create individualized treatment plans for each woman or girl so that she can receive the customized interventions that will address unique needs and help her achieve her treatment goals.

At Timberline Knolls, we can help you take significant steps toward long-term recovery from eating disorders, substance use disorders, and co-occurring PTSD or trauma due to sexual assault .

Timberline Knolls saved my life. The therapists are truly incredible and they really care about us. I made friends for life and I got my life back on track.

– A former resident
Why Choose Timberline Knolls?