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indigo
03-24-2010, 01:14 AM
Hi there

I need a long-term / possibly terminal condition which could have been brought on by sexual abuse and malnourishment between the age of fourteen and nineteen.

I'm having trouble researching it because you usually need the symtoms not a possible cause to find stuff.

Grateful for any suggestions.

Many thanks.

waylander
03-24-2010, 01:58 AM
Anorexia?

backslashbaby
03-24-2010, 02:15 AM
I have something called Pernicious Anemia that might work. I can't digest B12, but you can get it by not having B12 for a very long time (2 yrs or so - it is stored in the liver if you're healthy). Or by having tapeworms, if you believe House ;)

Anyway, the symptoms can be dramatic or mild (until way later), so that would be great in fiction. It is fatal, eventually, without treatment.

I know tons about it if you are interested.

There are several vitamin or mineral-deficiency diseases, though. Call them that in Google :)

cscarlet
03-24-2010, 02:16 AM
I was going to say Anorexia or Bulimia. I would think someone who was depraved wouldn't have necessarily learned how to eat proper portions, so they might gorge themselves on food... but then because of the sexual abuse have severe self esteem issues. And self-esteem problems are one of the major causes of eating disorders. Vitamin deficiencies are also good. If there were any physical wounds related to the sexual abuse, malnutrition could also cause improper healing of them.

Wiskel
03-24-2010, 02:29 AM
Tricky one. Not sure what you need to serve your story.

Any long term problems arising from sexual abuse will tend to be either emotional, directly traumatic or coincidental. You've had the best suggestion already in anorexia. That's the best example of an emotional condition that puts physical health at high risk. Direct trauma would mean something was torn or damaged during the abuse and might need immediate surgery, and you could draw that out by having long term complications of surgery keep recurring. Coincidental problems wouldn't arise from the abuse directly, but may arise from being abused by someone with hepatitis, HIV or even something like syphilis that they passed on.

Most problems with malnutrition caused by neglect can be reversed. They might cause problems while in a malnourished state, but once your character is being treated most will go and the sequelae will be things like short stature and risk of osteoporosis which are problems but not really terminal or dramatic for story purposes. If your character is still in a malnourished state then there are plenty of problems you could give them.

Craig

shaldna
03-24-2010, 03:01 AM
What wiskel said.

And in terms of abuse related dietry problems, these tend to be tied to emtotion rather than physical issue. So you'd be looking at something like annorexia, bulimia, binge eating.

However, long term malnutirition can cause muscle and organ damage, liver and kideny failure, and, in many cases, heart failure.

backslashbaby
03-24-2010, 04:01 AM
Yeah, it depends on whether treatment is given. PA is solved with a simple B12 shot every month. Kind of anticlimatic ;)

I do have permanent nerve damage from it because of the delay in Dx. It is one that can be hard to diagnose. As Shaldna said, many organs, etc. can be damaged permanently.

B12 deficiency can happen with strict vegans, btw. A lot of the deficiencies would be near impossible in modern times because very common foods are fortified to prevent disease.

ChristineR
03-24-2010, 05:18 AM
Depression. Or schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or dissociative disorder.

The obvious case would be for the deadly act to be self-inflicted, but it could also be something as a result of disordered behavior, like drug abuse, or murder by a partner a healthy person would have dumped years ago, or bad choices due to various delusions.

Note that these are all disorders of the brain, meaning permanent, serious changes to the brain incurred by the abusive environment when the brain was still growing. It's easy to think of them as emotional conditions, but really, all these conditions are physical on some level. If you want something to be classically physical, make the character a drug abuser.

debirlfan
03-24-2010, 07:42 AM
The simplest answer I can think of would be AIDS/HIV or something else sexually transmitted and not properly treated.

If you want to do something a little less obvious and maybe a little more graphic - perhaps vaginal/rectal trauma that doesn't heal properly -- and because of the previous abuse the victim doesn't want the doctor poking around "down there" and doesn't go for treatment until it's too late. What about anal fissures complicated by constipation (caused at least in part by lousy eating habits) and a serious infection?

Al Ross
03-24-2010, 08:14 AM
Cancer in the uterus.

indigo
03-24-2010, 02:17 PM
Wow! Thanks eveyone, that's all really useful.

I hadn't even considered eating disorders but see how they would fit in with the low esteem issue.

I'll look into all of your suggestions.

Thanks again

Indy

Tsu Dho Nimh
03-24-2010, 09:59 PM
I need a long-term / possibly terminal condition which could have been brought on by sexual abuse and malnourishment between the age of fourteen and nineteen.

How fast does the plot need them to die? Or how sick do you want them to be? Here's some suggestions:

Sexually Transmitted
Syphilis
AIDS
Hepatitis B

Nutritional Deficiencies
Scurvy
Marasmus is general starvation like anorexia nervosa, but externally inflicted. the heart problems can kill you just as you are recovering
Beri-Beri
Pellagra
B-12 deficiency (anemia, can be fatal) from lack of animal protein

Shwebb
04-07-2010, 09:18 AM
If you give the child an eating disorder because of the abuse, you can go for any dietary deficiency. One you might find interesting is nyctalopia, which is night blindness from vitamin A deficiency. Given that vitamin A is fat-soluble, it's a bit more difficult to develop than the water-soluble vitamins. People with nyctalopia can have normal daylight vision, but can be completely blind after the sun goes down.

I believe that if children below a certain age develop it and aren't treated in time, it can become permanent. But be sure to double-check that one; I'm not certain of it.

EDIT: One more thing: if the people around your victim aren't familiar with this condition, she might be initially considered to be having a conversion disorder, aka as "hysteria." Or that she is intentionally faking her condition; after all, her vision is perfect during the day, why is she not able to see at night unless it's related to her sexual abuse also happening at night, and she doesn't want to "see" it? So treatment would end up being partially inappropriate, at least at first.

househugger
04-13-2010, 08:48 PM
If you give the child an eating disorder because of the abuse, you can go for any dietary deficiency. One you might find interesting is nyctalopia, which is night blindness from vitamin A deficiency. Given that vitamin A is fat-soluble, it's a bit more difficult to develop than the water-soluble vitamins. People with nyctalopia can have normal daylight vision, but can be completely blind after the sun goes down.

I believe that if children below a certain age develop it and aren't treated in time, it can become permanent. But be sure to double-check that one; I'm not certain of it.

EDIT: One more thing: if the people around your victim aren't familiar with this condition, she might be initially considered to be having a conversion disorder, aka as "hysteria." Or that she is intentionally faking her condition; after all, her vision is perfect during the day, why is she not able to see at night unless it's related to her sexual abuse also happening at night, and she doesn't want to "see" it? So treatment would end up being partially inappropriate, at least at first.

Schwebb, this has a lot of story potential. If only I was writing fiction!