418 Mental Health
rape and sexual
When something horrible has happened to a woman or to
someone close to her, she has suffered a trauma. Some of the
most common kinds of trauma are violence in the home, rape,
war, torture, and natural disasters.
Trauma threatens a person’s
physical or mental well-being. As
a result, a person feels unsafe,
insecure, helpless, and unable to
trust the world or the people
around her. It usually takes a long
time for a woman to recover from
trauma, especially if it was caused
by another person, not by nature.
Trauma suffered as a child, before
she could understand what was
happening or talk about it, can affect
a woman for many years without
her even knowing it.
HIV infection, 308
taking too much
side effects of
drug and alcohol
Some mental health problems are caused by physical
problems, such as:
• hormones and other changes in the body.
• infections, such as HIV.
• pesticides, herbicides, and industrial solvents.
• liver or kidney disease.
• too much medicine in the body, or the side effects of some
• drug and alcohol misuse.
• strokes, dementia, and head injuries.
Always consider the possibility of a physical cause when
treating mental health problems. Remember, too, that physical
problems can be the sign of a mental health problem (see
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012