Effects of abuse can have a serious impact on the way a person thinks and interacts with the world around them. Chronic exposure to domestic violence, plus the stress and fear which result from this exposure, causes not only physical injury but also mental shifts that occur as the mind attempt to process trauma or protect the body. This can significantly impact one’s mental stability. Increased anxiety, PTSD, and depression are common responses observed among survivors.

Three common symptoms of Domestic Abuse are:

  • PTSD – Post traumatic stress disorder is a mental health condition that is triggered by a terrifying event. Symptoms associated with PTSD are flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety and uncontrollable thoughts about the events.
  • DEPRESSION – Depression is more than temporary sadness. Symptoms can include prolonged sadness, feelings of hopelessness, unexplained crying, changes in appetite with significant weight loss or gain, loss of energy or loss of interest and pleasure in activities previously enjoyed. When depression affects a person’s outlook, it can lead to feelings of hopelessness, and in extreme cases people may even experience suicidal thoughts and/or attempts.
  • DISSOCIATION – This condition usually refers to feeling like one has ‘checked out’ or is not present. In some instances people may find themselves prone to daydreaming. But in more severe cases where dissociation is chronic, and more complex, it may impair an individual’s ability to function in the ‘real world’ such as not being able to focus on work related duties or being able to concentrate on schoolwork.

shutterstock_108866654-customPeople experiencing domestic violence often cover up their injuries to avoid being questioned by others. Oftentimes injuries are explained by saying one tripped and fell. A survivor may avoid speaking openly about his/her injuries due to feelings of shame or because speaking openly about the injuries can place the person at a greater risk of being abused.

Physical evidence may include: Bruises that look like they came from choking, punching or defending oneself; black eyes; red or purple marks at the neck; sprained or broken wrists.

Common physical effects of trauma include: Chronic fatigue, shortness of breath, muscle tension, involuntary shaking, changes in eating and sleeping patterns, sexual dysfunction, issues with menstrual cycle of fertility in women.

Coping with the effects of domestic abuse can be overwhelming and survivors sometimes need to self-medicate or use drugs or alcohol to help them cope with these overwhelming feelings. It can also change one’s worldview and outlook on life. Being in a situation where a person is being controlled by another an create feelings of hopelessness. A survivor may develop a negative outlook in which they may feel ‘damaged’ or unworthy of a better life. A perpetrator can chip away at a person’s self-esteem with constant criticism or insults, which can lead the survivor to question their sense of self in relation to the world. They then can feel discouraged and apprehensive about the future. Domestic violence can also take away a person’s sense of safety and security, greatly influencing his or her ability to trust others. Survivors might feel unmotivated, empty, or feel like reaching out is not worth the effort.

If you are experiencing PTSD, Depression or Dissociation, please do not hesitate to call Trauma Touch Healing for an evaluation to see how we can assist you.