What Are the Long-Term Effects of Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence always has negative effects on a victim. Many of these effects, like lowered self-esteem, bruises, broken bones, and anxiety, are immediate and appear concurrently with the abuse. Others do not become apparent for months or years after the abuse begins. In some cases, an individual experiences long-term effects of domestic violence even after leaving the abusive relationship.
If you face domestic violence, discuss it with your doctor so he or she can have more context with which to diagnose your physical health conditions. Your doctor can also refer you to a mental health specialist to help you work through the lasting psychological effects of facing domestic violence. Below are a few of the long-term issues domestic violence victims face:
Increased Severity of Chronic Conditions
Domestic violence is stressful, and stress exacerbates all other health conditions. When an individual faces domestic violence, his or her risk of suffering from chronic pain, asthma, heart disease, and arthritis increases.
Additionally, physical injuries sustained through domestic violence can increase your risk of suffering from new conditions later in life. One example of this is the correlation between traumatic brain injuries and Alzheimer’s disease.
Long-lasting Mental Health Conditions
Domestic violence victims can also face a host of mental health problems while the abuse is occurring and in the years that follow. These include:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); and
- Suicidal thoughts.
These mental health issues can make domestic violence victims reluctant to trust others, likely to doubt themselves and their own perceptions, hopeless, and unmotivated to try to change their lives and build better futures for themselves.
Addiction to Drugs and Alcohol
When a domestic violence victim does not receive the healthcare he or she needs, he or she might self-medicate with alcohol or other drugs. This can lead to an addiction. In fact, domestic violence victims are 15 times more likely to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol than the general population. Besides alcohol, common drugs with which victims self-medicate include:
- Opioids like heroin and painkillers; and
- Antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs like Xanax.
Often, medications like Xanax can be very effective at helping domestic violence victims manage their mental health conditions, but they must be taken under the direction of a qualified medical professional. Taking prescription drugs without a doctor’s supervisions can put an individual at risk of taking inappropriate dosages, becoming dependent on the drug, and using it inappropriately in other ways.
Victims can also become addicted to other stimuli, like food or shopping. These, too, can have long-term consequences, like obesity and excessive debt, respectively.
Work with an Experienced St. Charles Divorce Lawyer
When domestic violence is present in your marriage, leaving the marriage now can spare you the long-term health consequences discussed above. To learn more about the divorce process, your rights, and how you can begin the process of ending your marriage, contact Shaw Sanders, P.C. today to set up your initial consultation with an experienced Kane County divorce lawyer. Reach out to us today at 630-584-5550.