Common effects of abuse on children

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What are common effects of abuse on children?
• Feelings of sadness or depression
• Difficulties concentrating in school, truancy
• Significant anxiety, a heightened startle response, hyper-vigilance
• Inconsolable crying in infants, feeding problems
• Attachment problems
• Aggression, angry outbursts
• An increase in oppositional behavior or tantrums
• Difficulty sleeping or nightmares
• Feelings of guilt or shame about the abuse
• Bed-wetting or soiling during the daytime
• Clinginess and anxiety about separating from caregiver
• Developmental delays or regression to earlier stages of development
• Low self-esteem, poor self-concept
• Withdrawal from friends or family
• Play in which the child reenacts some part of the traumatic experience
• Recurrent stomachaches or headaches that cannot be medically explained
• Avoidance of traumatic reminders
• Substance use or self-harming behavior
• Sexual knowledge, language or behaviors that are inappropriate for the child’s age

FACT: With a combination of support from a caregiver and effective counseling, most children can and do recover from traumatic experiences.

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