How Does Domestic Abuse Affect Mental Health?

The effects of domestic abuse can be far-reaching, influencing many aspects of our daily lives, how we see ourselves, how we care for ourselves, and how we interact with others. Sometimes it opens the door to a myriad of mental health issues, while other times, it can exacerbate existing conditions, making a bad situation worse. 

So how does domestic abuse affect mental health? Research has shown that adults who have experienced domestic violence are far more likely to suffer from mental health disorders of all kinds than the general populace. 

One study, a 5-year research program on domestic violence funded by the National Institute for Health Research in the United Kingdom, found “there is a higher risk of experiencing adult lifetime partner violence among women with depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, and PTSD when compared with women without mental disorders.”

Their findings also concluded that:

  • Compared to women with no mental health disorders, measured over their adult life, women with depressive disorders were around 2.5 times more likely to have been victims of domestic violence.
  • This figure was over 3.5 times higher for women with anxiety disorders
  • For women with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the chances of having experienced domestic violence were seven times higher than women with no mental health problems.

Women with other mental health diagnoses were also found to have been more likely to have suffered from domestic violence than women with no mental health diagnoses. Such diagnoses were: 

The pattern for men has been determined to be similar. Men who deal with mental disorders are also more likely to have been victims of domestic violence. However, studies find it is much less common for men to experience repeated severe domestic abuse.

The evidence suggests that domestic abuse can affect mental health and lead to the victims developing mental health problems, such as anxiety or PTSD, or people who already have mental health problems will be likely to experience domestic violence. 

Whether you have suffered from a pre-existing mental problem and have experienced domestic violence in addition to that condition or you are experiencing mental health challenges as an after-effect of being abused, Bridges Domestic Violence Shelter is here to help you recover. 

We are the only domestic violence shelter in Williamson County, Tennessee. We are dedicated to helping victims and survivors find their pathway to safety and independence. We offer life-changing services and programs free of charge to anyone who has experienced physical, mental, or sexual abuse. 

Our services include support groups, crisis intervention, and much more. If you need help right away, you can contact us online or by phone at (615) 599 5777. Our domestic violence advocates are standing by.

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