Have you come across anyone who is scared of clicking pictures on their phone thinking they would end up using it inappropriately? Have you met anyone who is very suspicious of their own family members, so much that they don’t talk to anyone about his/her family?
If you have, most definitely the person may have a past history of child abuse, which by the way can lead to multiple psychological disorders later in life like obsessive compulsive disorder, paranoia, anxiety disorder, schizophrenia etc.
Let’s take the case of Radhika More (name changed) who is currently looking out for a job after finishing her graduation in Bachelors of Science. She paid a visit to Dr Shifa Mogral, a clinical psychologist at Masina Hospital for a seemingly acute problem.
“More came to me with her mother. Her mother complained that she was used to ‘magical thinking’. Her mother said that there were a lot of illogical reasoning in her fears. It is now, that we realized the real problem, along with obsessive compulsive disorder, she is also a suffering from harm-avoidance,” added Mogral.
Harm-avoidance is a phenomenon that can be characterized as human reflexes which come out as a reaction to avoid any ‘harm’. “In More’s case, she felt everything was harmful to her. As soon as she picks up her phone, she would think that she would end up posting inappropriate photos unknowingly,” added Mogral.
“A history of sexual abuse can be responsible for causing evident conditions in future mostly like Anxiety disorders, Conversion disorders, social phobia and also borderline personality disorder in some cases. The biggest challenge, in such cases, is recovery of victims of prolonged sexual abuse and also to prevent them from withdrawing themselves of society and externalized stress,” said Dr Jalpa Bhuta, women and child psychiatrist at Global Hospital.
More has a past of being touched inappropriately by her uncle when she was 14-year-old. Ever since the incident, she has avoided talking about this to anybody. In fact, More also agrees that she thought that she moved on. “When women faces sexual abuse in their childhood, often they’re too young to express it when they’re not properly treated,” added Dr Bhuta.
More has developed a strange theory about harm-avoidance for herself. “A lot of times, children who have experienced sexual abuse do have suspicion and paranoia towards their close relatives,” said Dr Avinash Desousa, co-founder of De Sousa Foundation. “And these can manifest themselves after many years. It can lead to multiple psychological illnesses,” he added.
Furthermore, other doctors say that child abuse definitely leads to a lot of suspicion in children. “Personally, I have not met a patient with harm-avoidance. But however, any form of child abuse will lead to a lot of suspicion in the children,” said Dr Sagar Karia, secretary of Bombay Psychiatric Association as well as consulting psychiatrist at Sion Hospital.