Mental Health Disorders

Mothers will experience a range of emotional reactions following the disclosure that a child has been sexually abused. These usually include shockfear anger, anxiety, sadness, and confusion. Mothers may process through the stages of grief. This process may last weeks, months, or years. The length of time and severity of symptoms are dependent on the resilience of the mother, coping and self-care resources, support, and other factors. Some of these factors include the age of child, severity of abuse, length of time of abuse, and identity of perpetrator

Mothers may also demonstrate symptoms that meet the criteria for mental health disorders. The mother's well-being is critical to the recovery of the child victim. Maternal support has been shown to be the most important predictive factor in reducing negative consequences of the abuse to victims. It is important that the needs of mothers be addressed following disclosure and that they receive ongoing support and counseling.
Many mothers will develop symptom constellations that meet criteria for:

Group therapy, support, healthy coping, counseling, medication, and other ways of counteracting stress may all be helpful in reducing symptoms.  



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