Domestic Violence and it's Effects on Mental Health

This week’s blog accompanies our podcast about domestic violence. Domestic violence has profound and long-lasting effects on the mental health of victims. Some of the primary mental health concerns include:

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD):

  • Victims may experience flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, and uncontrollable thoughts about the abuse.
  • Hypervigilance and an exaggerated startle response are common.


  • Persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness.
  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed, changes in appetite and sleep patterns, and thoughts of self-harm or suicide.

Anxiety Disorders:

  • Generalized anxiety, panic attacks, and social anxiety are prevalent.
  • Constant worry about the future and fear of the abuser returning.
  1. Substance Abuse:
  • Victims might turn to alcohol or drugs as a coping mechanism to deal with the pain and trauma.

Low Self-Esteem and Self-Worth:

  • Continuous abuse can erode self-confidence, leading victims to believe they are deserving of the abuse or that they are incapable of escaping their situation.


  • Some victims may disconnect from their thoughts, feelings, memories, or sense of identity to cope with the trauma.

Sleep Disorders:

  • Insomnia, nightmares, and other sleep disturbances are common due to the anxiety and hypervigilance.

Eating Disorders:

  • Stress and trauma can lead to unhealthy eating habits, including anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating.

Chronic Stress and Related Physical Symptoms:

  • Chronic stress can manifest as headaches, gastrointestinal issues, chronic pain, and other physical health problems.

Difficulty in Trusting Others:

  • Forming new relationships can be challenging due to a lack of trust and fear of being hurt again.

Isolation and Loneliness:

  • Abusers often isolate their victims from friends and family, leading to feelings of loneliness and a lack of social support.

Guilt and Shame:

  • Victims often blame themselves for the abuse and feel ashamed, which can prevent them from seeking help.

Addressing these mental health concerns requires a comprehensive approach, including therapy, support groups, and sometimes medication. It's crucial for victims to receive support from mental health professionals who specialize in trauma and domestic violence.