Domestic violence is a serious problem in the United States, affecting nearly 10 million people each year. It is estimated that one in four women and one in nine men are victims of domestic violence. Domestic and family violence encompasses child abuse, intimate partner violence and elder abuse.
The effects of domestic violence have far-reaching implications, not only for the victim, but also for their family, friends or other loved ones who may be exposed or aware of the abuse. Abuse can affect the way we feel about ourselves, the way we take care for ourselves, and how we interact with others. Beyond that, domestic violence can also have a profound impact on our mental health and sometimes lead to serious and/or chronic mental health conditions.
The relationship between domestic violence and mental health is closely intertwined – cyclical, even. You see, persons with an existing mental health disorder are far more likely to find themselves the victim of domestic abuse than those without. In turn, domestic violence victims without a prior mental health condition have a high risk for developing one.
People with a mental health disorder have a significantly higher risk of becoming victims of domestic violence compared to the general population. Research suggests…
There is also an increased risk for men with a chronic mental health condition to become victims of domestic violence, over men without. However, studies and statistics for men, on this matter, are limited and much harder to find. Their risk is believed to be comparable to that of women with mental health conditions.
What we do know though, is it is not common for men to withstand repeated domestic abuse.
Domestic violence is a terribly sad and emotional reality in many homes across America - and the world. Understandably, victims often experience an array of overwhelming emotions, even after being freed from the abusive home or relationship. It is important for victims to find emotional support to help them enact healthy ways of processing and healing from their trauma.
Individuals who have endured physical or mental abuse are at high risk for the development of mental health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts.
Psychological effects of domestic violence:
Other domestic violence effects that contribute to poor mental health:
If you, or someone you know, is the victim of domestic violence, we encourage you to seek help. Here are some national and local resources to help.