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Trauma-Related Disorders: Sexual Abuse and Psychiatric Comorbidities

  • Cinzia Niolu
  • Giulia Lisi
  • Alberto Siracusano
Chapter
Part of the Trends in Andrology and Sexual Medicine book series (TASM)

Abstract

Trauma occurs when a subject happens to be exposed to death, threatened death, actual or threatened serious injury, or actual or threatened sexual violence; historical studies raised much interest on the persistent role of past traumatic experiences on people’s current lives. Confrontation with trauma results in the release of important neurochemical factors, capable of compromising subjective integrative capacity and the ordinary process of neurodevelopment. DSM-5 classifies trauma- and stressor-related disorders in a specific chapter that includes the reactive attachment disorder, the disinhibited social engagement disorder, acute stress disorder, the adjustment disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Numerous studies have, moreover, demonstrated the existence of a substantial association between childhood trauma and dissociation. In humans, in fact, two different reaction mechanisms are possible when facing danger: the hyperarousal pathway and the dissociation pathway. Many authors suggested that dissociative symptoms have, in these cases, a specific role of defense. Among personality disorders, borderline personality disorder, mainly characterized by a recurring pattern of instability in relationships, affectivity, and behavior, is a particularly common diagnosis among victims of childhood sexual trauma. The objective of this chapter is to address some of the possible psychological and physical consequences of exposure to violence and traumatic events.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cinzia Niolu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Giulia Lisi
    • 1
  • Alberto Siracusano
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Psychiatry, Department of Systems MedicineUniversity of Rome Tor VergataRomeItaly
  2. 2.Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology UnitFondazione Policlinico Tor VergataRomeItaly

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