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It's difficult for a rape survivor to deal with the trauma: Psychiatrists

Dec 25, 2012 09:36 AM IST India India

Mumbai: Even as the nation prays for the 23-year-old gangrape survivor in Delhi, psychiatrists tell CNN-IBN that it could take quite some time to deal with the emotional trauma. The extensive media coverage could also trigger trauma in other rape survivors.

When asked what is the road of recovery like for the rape victim once the body is healed, Dr YA Matcheswalla, Senior Psychiatrist, JJ Hospital, Mumbai, said, "Unfortunately for those rape victims who have not received enough of emotional and psychological help, most of them get into post traumatic stress disorder by which they would be having sleepless nights, flashbacks, nightmares, night terror a lot of severe anxiety symptoms lot of restlessness, lot of palpitation. They would also go into severe depression, they would keep reliving those particular thoughts, they become socially withdrawn."

One of the myths of rape is that after a period of time, people get "over it". But in most cases, that doesn't happen. With help, survivors learn to cope and develop a positive outlook but the fear and memories of the trauma are very difficult to wipe out. And cases like these, with wide media coverage, can also trigger that trauma for other victims.

Dr YA Matcheswalla, Senior Psychiatrist, Mumbai, said, "Society can play a very important role and rehabilitating the person back into the community into the normal fold. We should not be putting the person down, blaming her, making her feel guilty about all these things. The society has to be with her, support her and let her come back into all aspects and joy. She should get proper economic opportunity, financially independent. She should be accepted."

New research shows that rape can leave permanent changes in the area of the brain which controls memory and stress. As a result cognitive skills can be impaired, victims may not be able to accurately gauge the passage of time or fail to see the "bigger picture" in situations.

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