PTSD and Domestic Violence

Domestic violence comes in the form of physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, cyber/digital abuse, psychological abuse and financial abuse or any combination there of. Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior in a relationship that uses the above listed abuses to gain power and control over another. Domestic violence affects not only the victim long term, but it can do long term damage to children as well. This month, we are focusing on PTSD or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as it relates to domestic violence.
The cycle of abuse, tension building phase, abuse/crisis phase and honeymoon phase, can repeat itself over and over and over again. The phases of tension building and honeymoon can continue to get shorter and shorter while the abuse/crisis phase get longer. It is not uncommon for domestic violence victims to develop PTSD. Studies have shown that those who suffer from PTSD can be inclined toward violence and thus the cycle of abuse continues.
Victims of domestic violence may be suffering from PTSD and not know it. Because they suffer from the long term effects, this can make it difficult to diagnose and conquer. The severity of violence, the duration of the exposure and the age of the victim can exacerbate the symptoms of PTSD. Domestic violence is repetitive and endurance based. The physical effects of this type of trauma can include, bruises, lacerations, head injury, strangulation, broken bones, internal bleeding, chronic pelvic pain and urinary tract infections. Long term trauma can also include arthritis and heart issues. However, the emotional/psychological component of domestic violence is what leads to PTSD. Being abused by a person that you trusted and loved can lead to feelings of abandonment, betrayal, and they may also feel as though they are going crazy. Depression can become apparent and be a chronic effect of PTSD. Being in a domestic violence relationship can cause the abused to feel as though there is no way out. They feel helpless and hopeless.
It is challenging for most domestic violence victims to escape the cycle of abuse. Even after they have managed to walk away, they still suffer aftershocks of the abuse. PTSD. They may suffer from flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, emotional numbing, insomnia, hyper vigilance and they try to avoid any emotional triggers.
If you have been a victim of domestic violence and you suspect you are suffering from PTSD, please reach out to Promise Place 770-460-1604 24/7, the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-787-3224 24/7 or any mental health professional that specializes in domestic violence.