Link exists between domestic violence and mental health disorders

A new research carried on by a team of researchers from King’s College – London Institute of Psychiatry and UniversityDomestic Violence of Bristol revealed that people or adults with mental disorders are more likely to have experienced domestic violence than the general population. The findings suggest that the physicians should be aware of the link and must ensure that the patients with mental health problems are kept safe from domestic violence and be treated for their mental health effects of such abuse.

The findings are the result of the study that was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and is published in PLoSONE journal in their 26December issue. The research is based on the reviewed data from 41 studies carried on worldwide. The study states that compared to women without any mental health problems, women with depressive disorders were around two and half times (with prevalence estimated at 45.8%) are more likely to have experienced or suffered domestic violence during their adult lifetime. Women with anxiety disorders were more than three and half times (with a prevalence estimate of 27.6%) and women with post-traumatic stress disorder or PSTD were around seven times (prevalence estimate of 61.0%) more likely to have been abused.

Women with other disorders that include obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD, eating disorders, common mental health problems, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia were also at an increased risk of domestic violence compared to women without mental health problems. For men there was a similar pattern as men with all types of mental disorders were also at an increased risk of domestic violence. Nevertheless, the research showed that prevalence estimates were much lower than for women, indicating that it is less common for men to be the victims of the repeated severe domestic violence.

The worldwide estimates suggest that over their lifetime between fifteen to seventy one percent of women experience physical or sexual violence from their partners. The evidence as per the research suggests that there are two things going on, the first being that domestic violence can often lead to victims developing mental health problems and on the other hand, people with mental health problems are more likely to experience domestic violence. The authors of this study called on for more studies that follow people with mental disorders to identify the ways they can end up being victims of domestic abuse.

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