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Subtle signs of domestic violence

19 September 2014, 12:05

Abuja - Physical warning signs of domestic abuse can be picked up during health care visits to the doctor – things like irritable bowel syndrome and insomnia.

Bruises and broken bones

The more obvious signs of physical abuse like bruises and, in extreme cases, broken bones are easy to observe, but there are also more subtle signs that may have other causes and are mostly not linked to an abusive relationship. It may also be difficult to separate these physical manifestations from psychological symptoms of domestic violence, like the following examples:

- Quiet, passive behaviour
- Signs of depression like avoidance of eye contact and crying
- Anxiety
- Chronic fatigue
- “Battered woman syndrome," much like post-traumatic stress disorder
- Substance abuse – prescription drugs, alcohol or illegal drugs

'Noninjury' complaints

The ongoing stress experienced by victims of domestic violence can lead to “noninjury”
medical complaints that are not directly caused by the abuse experienced by the victim.
These symptoms are caused by a psychological reaction to abuse and may also present in cases of psychological violence where the perpetrator never lays a finger on the victim. They are the result of the constant stress and tension of being in an abusive relationship.

Some typical “noninjury” medical complaints experienced by victims of domestic abuse include:

- Headaches
- Asthma  
- Gastrointestinal symptoms
- Insomnia or restless sleep  
- Genital soreness
- Pelvic pain
- Back pain
- Painful sex
- Choking sensations
- Palpitations
- Neck pain

- Health24

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