Post-Traumatic Stress Responses

This article lists the common effects of abuse-related trauma and summarizes the role of an addictions counsellor and/or a mental health practitioner


Common Effects of Abuse-Related Trauma

  • Fearing people and relationships
  • Substance misuse and abuse (includes self medicating)
  • Difficulty sleeping or over sleeping
  • Flashbacks of the abuse
  • Dissociation
  • Having panic attacks or uncomfortable amounts of anxiety
  • Low self-esteem and self-loathing
  • Depression
  • Repeated experiences of being revictimized (continued abusive relationships)
  • Suicidal ideation or suicide attempts
  • Nightmares
  • Memory gaps (especially from childhood)
  • Self-harm
  • Eating disorders

(Adapted from: What do these signs have in common? Recognizing the effects of abuse-related trauma - CAMH, 2004)

The Role of an Addictions Counsellor and/or a Mental Health Practitioner

  1. Ask women if they have been abused
  2. Recognize the signs of abuse-related trauma and build rapport with a client so that she feels comfortable disclosing her experiences of abuse
  3. Prioritize safety planning and stabilization with clients
  4. Educate women about the effects of abuse on their mental health and / or substance use / problem gambling
  5. Provide woman abuse/abuse-related trauma-informed services
  6. Model healthy ways in which to use power
  7. Act as a professional support for women as they struggle to work through difficult circumstances related to the abuse
  8. Act as a link or bridge to other community services and supports such as shelters or other counselling agencies