Mental health is as important as physical health and essential for overall wellness. It includes your psychological, emotional, and social well-being.
Circumstances and experiences change your mental health and influence how you think, act, and feel.
For example, anxiety, fear, sadness, and chronic stress, such as those that come from domestic violence, may have adverse effects on your mental health. In turn, changes in your behavior may start affecting others in your community.
Individuals undergoing such events may turn to support groups to help deal with mental health issues. Others may consider lifestyle changes like exercise, diet, or alternative remedies to help manage anxiety and stress.
In some cases, persons with mental health issues may seek professional help through therapy or medical services to understand how the brain works and affects the body.
On average, more than half of women in various mental health settings have experienced or are experiencing abuse from an intimate partner.
In a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men had experienced physical violence from their partners.
The CDC also mentioned that survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV) often develop various mental health problems. They become more susceptible to dangerous behavior like binge drinking, smoking, and risky sexual acts.
Both clinical and population studies mentioned that victimization brought by domestic violence caused by intimate partners significantly increased the risk for disorders among women. Some of these disorders include:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Somatization (psychological concerns manifesting as physical symptoms)
- Substance abuse
- Suicide attempts
- Various medical problems
Traumatic events, such as those related to domestic violence, can lead to intense and often long-lasting changes in various aspects of your life. These aspects include physiological, emotional, cognitive, and memory-related factors.
Domestic violence can impact a person’s mental health in many ways, so not all victims are affected similarly.
However, changes to a person’s mental health due to domestic violence can have wide-reaching effects on the survivor’s community.
Some of these effects include:
- Reduced work productivity
- Trouble learning at school
- Difficulty engaging in healthy relationships
- Difficulty coping with adverse situations
- Trouble adapting to changes
Other consequences of domestic violence that may significantly impact society include homelessness and loss of employment.
Domestic violence has economic repercussions on society as well. The CDC reported that the lifetime financial cost for medical services, productivity loss from work, criminal justice, and other expenses related to IPV was around $3.6 trillion.
Individually, IPV-related costs over a victim’s lifetime are $23,414 for men and $103,767 for women.
Some governments have engaged in various efforts to combat domestic violence and make the home and community a safe space for individuals and intimate partners. It is important to know your partner first before getting serious. You can use this site to see if someone has a criminal history.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) lists five activities currently being done to help eliminate violence:
- Expanding helplines and engaging in information sharing
- Funding safe accommodation and shelters for survivors
- Increasing access to services for survivors
- Limiting the risk factors associated with violence
- Modifying justice systems and family laws
Domestic violence can cause adverse effects on an individual’s mental health, including anxiety, depression, and PTSD.
Additionally, domestic violence has wide-reaching effects on the survivor’s community, such as work, school, and others. It also has an economic impact that is by no means a small amount.
Governments and local communities are working to address domestic violence and other types of violence to ensure everyone, including the survivors, has a safe living space.
If you want to learn more about identifying abuse or getting help or know someone who may be a domestic violence victim, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.