On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States alone, equaling approximately 10 million men and women each year. Domestic violence can cause an adverse ripple effect on the emotional and psychological state of a survivor; panic attacks, post-traumatic stress (PTSD), suicidal tendencies, substance abuse, and depression are all common symptoms of someone who has suffered from domestic violence.
Domestic violence rates are higher among homeless women with serious mental illnesses. A study with 99 episodically homeless women with serious mental illness, found that 70% were physically abused and 30.4% were sexually abused by a partner.
Women between the ages of 18-24 are most commonly abused by an intimate partner.
Many people who experience domestic violence struggle with finding a way to cope with what they have gone through. Persons living with mental illness are overrepresented in homelessness populations, prisons and often experience economic injustices. While being exposed to a traumatic experience can trigger mental health problems, treatment can help a domestic violence survivor get back on their feet.
What is Trauma
Trauma is characterized as physical or emotional damage caused by an assault.
Regardless of the type and severity of the assault, survivors may experience trauma, which typically corresponds with the following feelings:
- Be shocked, angry or afraid
- Feel helpless because you could not prevent the assault
- Have nightmares or flashbacks about the assault
- Trouble sleeping and concentration
- Revengeful thoughts
- Think that you did something to cause the attack
- Feel embarrassed about telling your family and friends
- Feel any or all of the above, whether you were physically injured or not
Overtime, if the trauma persists, specifically for over a month, then the victim may be diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress (PTSD).
Post-Traumatic Stress (PTSD)
PTSD can develop after a very stressful, frightening or distressing event, or after a prolonged traumatic experience. While not everyone who suffers from trauma develops PTSD, those who do are not weak; PTSD is not a sign of weakness.
There are three categories of symptoms associated with PTSD which include:
- Avoiding reminders of the trauma including places, people, thoughts, or other activities that can be associated with the event.
- Being on guard or hyper-aroused at times, including feeling sudden anger or irritable, having difficulty sleeping or a lack of concentration, and being overly alert and easily startled.
- Reliving the event through recurring nightmares or other intrusive images that occur at randomly any time. Typically reliving the event will result in extreme emotional or physical reactions such as chills, heart palpitations, or panic when faced with reminders of the event.
When left untreated, PTSD can lead to a variety of serious symptoms, including:
- Severe depression: Serious depression is always a risk with PTSD. Many sufferers may demonstrate suicidal thoughts or actions while in the midst of a PTSD episode.
- Loneliness: Because PTSD can potentially make a person very difficult to be around and is often undiagnosed, individuals with the disease may end up isolated and alone.
- Anger management issues: For some people, the moments of recurring stress and anxiety lead to outbursts of anger or rage. This can result in child or spousal abuse or even public violence.
While these symptoms are serious, they can be corrected and eradicated with proper treatment.
Early Intervention and Treatment is Critical
Trauma has the potential to leave lasting scars that have the potential to completely alter your demeanor and character for the rest of your life if left untreated. Seeking treatment can completely turn your life around after a traumatic event, giving you the chance to be the best possible version of yourself.
Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART) is an innovative, evidence-based therapy for PTSD, anxiety, depression, stress and similar mental health issues. Initially, the therapy was primarily used to help veterans suffering from PTSD. One of the major advantages is the speed at which ART is able to bring relief. On average, one to five sessions are needed, not months or years of expensive psychiatric treatment.
Accelerated Resolution Therapy works by reprogramming the traumatic memories that are preventing inflicted individuals from enjoying the full life they deserve. The techniques work equally well on violent personal assault victims, combat vets and others.
Don’t let trauma from your past continue to control your life. Contact ART to learn more or