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Anyone can be a Victim! Victims can be of any age, sex, race, culture, religion,
education, employment or marital status. Although both men and women can be
abused, most victims are women. Within the United States, one out of every
four American women will experience violence by an intimate partner sometime
during her lifetime. One out of every six women will be raped during her
lifetime. Women are five to eight times
more likely than men to be victimized by an intimate partner.

   When individuals are presenting
with mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, insomnia, suicidal
ideation and post-traumatic stress disorder, it is very likely that women will
have underlying abuse and violence issues.
There can be many causes for someone to develop a mental illness. Some
combinations can include heredity (genes), biological, psychological, and
environmental factors.

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are some common mental effects of domestic violence? Post-traumatic stress
disorder (PTSD), including flashbacks, nightmares, extreme anxiety, and
uncontrollable thoughts. Depression, including prolonged sadness. Low
self-esteem and questioning sense of self. Suicidal thoughts and anxiety.

   Panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, depression
and anxiety are often ignited by domestic violence and/or other severe forms of

illness is any disease or condition that influences the way a person thinks,
feels, behaves, and/or relates to others and to his or her surroundings.
Although the symptoms of mental illness can range from mild to severe and are
different depending on the type of mental illness, a person with an untreated
mental illness often is unable to cope with life’s daily routines and demands.

Common and not so common
diagnosis that are listed in this paper.

Anxiety, Depression (Major Depressive Disorder), Dissociative Identity Disorder
(DID), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Schizophrenia. 


Post- Traumatic Stress

   Post-Traumatic stress disorder is
a common mental illness. Some symptoms may include, reliving the event, avoiding
situations that remind you of the event, negative changes in beliefs and
feelings, and hyperarousal. When your reliving the event you may have
nightmares, flashbacks, and triggers where you may see, hear, or smell
something that causes you to relive the event. When you avoid situations, you
may avoid big crowds because they feel dangerous, or keep yourself very busy to
keep yourself from thinking or talking about the event.

   Some post-traumatic stress
disorder symptoms are more common in women than men. Women are more likely to
be jumpy, to have more trouble feeling emotions, and to avoid things that
remind them of the trauma than men. Men are more likely to feel angry and to
have trouble controlling their anger then women. Women with PTSD are more
likely to feel depressed and anxious, while men with PTSD are more likely to
have problems with alcohol or drugs. Both women and men who experience PTSD may
develop physical health problems.

   An estimated 7.8% of Americans will experience
Post-traumatic stress disorder at some point in their lives, with women at
10.4% that is twice as likely as men since they have a 5% chance to develop
PTSD. About 3.6% of U.S. adults
aged 18 to 54 (5.2 million people) will have PTSD during the course of a given


Anxiety means you have a feeling of worry, nervousness, unease,
typically about an imminent, event or something with an uncertain outcome. When
our bodies feel danger (this maybe real or perceived) chemicals kick in to
prepare us to face or flee the danger. This is an instinctive reaction and it
is known as the ‘fight or flight’ response. If there is no need to use the
excess chemicals; adrenaline or the increased oxygen supply, then our bodies
begin to act against us. The decreased carbon dioxide levels in our lungs and
blood causes us to feel dizzy and disoriented, where we can begin to
hyperventilate and panic. When we live in a highly stressful environment our
body’s response to danger will be constantly on high alert.

Being in a relationship where your partner is abusive can cause a lot of
anxiety. Once out of that environment the level of anxiety we have been
accustomed to can remain. We have learned that life is ‘dangerous’ and our body
reacts that way even if the stressor is gone. At this point we need to learn
how to manage anxiety appropriate to our new situation.

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting
40 milion adults in the United
States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.
Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only 36.9% of those suffering
receive treatment.

Depression (Major depressive disorder)

Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of
interest. Also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects how you feel,
think and behave. It also can lead to a variety of emotional and physical

   Depression is more than just feeling ‘down.’ It is a serious
illness caused by changes in brain chemistry. Research tells us that other
factors contribute to the onset of depression, including genetics, changes in
hormone levels, certain medical conditions, stress, grief or difficult life

   Depression I the leading cause of
disability in the U.S. for ages 15 to 44. Major depressive disorder affects
more than 16.1 million American adults, or about 6.7% of the U.S. population age
18 and older in a given year. While major depressive disorder can develop at any
age, the average age at onset is 32 years old. Depression is more prevalent in
women than in men.

Dissociative identity disorder (DID)

identity disorder formerly referred to as multiple
personality disorder, is a condition wherein a person’s identity is fragmented into two or
more distinct personality states (also called alters). People with this rare
condition are often victims of severe abuse. Why some people develop DID is not
entirely understood, but they frequently report having experienced severe
physical and sexual abuse, particularly during childhood.

   When someone has DID it means they
have more than one personality states (alters). The original personality is
called a host, while the other personalities are the alters. They can have many
kinds of alters where some are super angry and jealous while some can be super
playful and happy. When they switch to an alter the host can black out and not
know what is going on. The alter then takes control of the body and in some cases,
be very violent and emotionally abusive. There are some people who can have as
few as two distinct personalities or there are some who can have up to one
hundred alters. Some professionals don’t believe this is a real condition but
with experience there is no way that it is not a proper diagnosis.

   It is more common than recently
believed and can possibly There are some people who can have two distinct
personalities or there are some who can have one hundred alters. Some
professionals don’t believe this is a real condition but with experience there
is no way that it is not a proper diagnosis.

   It is more common than recently
believed and can possible affect up to 1% of the population. 



   Schizophrenia is a mental disorder
that is characterized by disturbances in thought (such as delusions),
perception (such as hallucinations), and behavior (such as disorganized speech
or catatonic behavior), by a loss of emotional responsiveness and extreme
apathy, and by noticeable deterioration in the level of functioning in everyday

   Schizophrenia is a chronic and
severe neurological brain disorder estimated in 2014 to affect 1.1% of the population or
approximately 2.6 million adults in the United States aged 18 or older. An
estimated 40 percent of individuals with the condition are untreated in any
given year.  

Other Stuff

A research study reported that the risk of developing depression, post-traumatic
stress disorder (PTSD), substance abuse issues or feeling suicidal was three to
five times higher for women who have experienced violence in their
relationships compared to women who had not.

The signs of mental health issues are not always as obvious as we think.
If you, or someone you know has been a survivor of domestic violence, here are
some signs you should look out for: Over dependence or abuse of drugs, alcohol,
smoking, or even food (overeating or not eating enough), Panic attacks,
excessive or inappropriate feelings of guilt, trouble making decisions, sleep
issues (too much or too little sleep, consistently), feelings of worthlessness,
suicidal tendencies, extreme irritability.

Stress, anxiety and depression generally have a disruptive effect on
sleep. Either sleeping too much, or not being able to get enough sleep.
Unfortunately, poor sleep is both a cause, and an effect of suffering with
mental health. Improving sleep, either with medical help, or by trying relaxation,
meditation, warm baths before bed etc, will offer a significant improvement in
health. Avoiding drugs and alcohol is also important, as they are known to
disturb sleep.

If someone is suffering with any type of mental disorder it should be
encouraged that they seek medical help. If someone is seeking help for their
diagnosis it is something they should be praised for. For some people, it’s a
big step for them and they can use all the encouragement they can get. Some
victims of domestic violence are withheld from receiving the proper treatment
they may need to get better. Their abuser might make them feel less as a mother
or a person in general. It is nothing to be ashamed of but something that des
need to be taken care of.


With any of the listed diagnosis in this paper, it will have a big
impact on anybody’s life. If you are an abuser with any of these disorders than
it can play a role in the abuse but not necessarily. If you have schizophrenia
then you might have hallucinations and act violent against the victim. If you
are a person with dissociative identity disorder then you may have an alter who
can be abusive in any way. Having a mental disorder doesn’t mean its ok to be
abusive. You should get the proper help you need to be able to get your life
back on track.

Random Facts

7 out of 10 psychologically abused
women display symptoms of PTSD and/or depression.

Psychological abuse is a stronger
predictor of PTSD than physical abuse among women.

People with serious mental illnesses, like
schizophrenia, do have a slightly higher risk of committing violence than
members of the general population. It still does not make it ok to commit a
crime or abuse someone.

The vast majority of people with mental health problems are no more likely
to be violent than anyone else. Most people with mental illness are not violent
and only 3%-5% of violent acts can be attributed to individuals living with a
serious mental illness. In fact, people with severe mental illnesses are over
10 times more likely to be victims of violent crime than the general
population. You probably know someone with a mental health problem and don’t
even realize it, because many people with mental health problems are highly
active and productive members of our communities.

Things to remember if you are a victim of
domestic violence

If you are a victim of domestic violence you have to learn to celebrate
small victories. When you look back you may see that they actually where steps
to get you where you needed to be. Just being able to wake up in the morning
feeling safe is something we sometimes take for granted since not everyone is
lucky enough to feel safe in their own home.

   Domestic violence is NOT caused by
mental illness, substance abuse, or stress. Nancy
Erickson, an attorney and consultant on domestic violence legal issues,
researched this years ago. “I found that about half of abusers appeared to have
no mental disorders. The other half had various mental disorders, including but
not limited to psychopathy, narcissism, PTSD, depression and bipolar disorder.”

   No amount of bad behavior can
induce someone to behave violently. Victims do not cause their abuse, even if they are unfaithful, unreasonable, or
unkind. Remember if you or someone you know have mental health issues than it
is okay to get help. There are plenty of Doctors, Counselors, treatment
facilities, and resources who are there to help you in a vulnerable time. If
you have a mental illness it does not make you an abuser nor a victim. You
decide if you become an abuser and it is not your fault if you are the victim.



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