NAYA | Domestic Violence: Implications on mental health and urgency of treatment

To explore and highlight the impact of abuse on mental health and urgency of psychological attention for domestic violence survivors, NAYA spoke to local sources to get more in-depth insight on the issue.
by Danah Kaouri

26 April 2019 | 17:01

Source: by Annahar

  • by Danah Kaouri
  • Source: Annahar
  • Last update: 26 April 2019 | 17:01

During one of KAFA's protests on domestic violence. (AFP photo).

BEIRUT: According to a review of studies by PLOS, experiencing domestic violence increases chances of experiencing a range of mental health conditions.

According to the review, chances of facing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is about seven times more likely for women who are victims of domestic violence, possibility of depression is 2.7 times greater, and chances of experiencing anxiety and alcohol and drug misuse are respectively four and six times greater.

A study by KAFA (Enough Violence and Exploitation) NGO and UNHCR revealed that 44 percent of the Lebanese population personally know someone subjected to domestic violence.

To explore and highlight the impact of abuse on mental health and urgency of psychological attention for domestic violence survivors, NAYA spoke to local sources to get more in-depth insight on the issue.

Director of the psychological department at KAFA’s support center Gisel Nader, explained that violence can be physical, sexual, and psychological.

The support center provides social, mental, and legal counseling to victims of violence through providing a safe space for recovery.

Nader elaborated on how sometimes, psychological abuse is harder to deal with.

“This sort of abuse will lead to feelings of unworthiness, guilt, dependency, and submissiveness,” she told Annahar.

Going through this form of abuse can impact the subjected person’s communication skills majorly.

“Lack of communication skills results in a new problem. The victims become unable to talk about their experience and that makes recovery even more difficult,” the director said.

Nader mentioned that anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts are not uncommon for women who have previously faced cases of domestic violence.

“Living in a constant state of threat and danger can increase chances of anxiety,” she said. “It can also result in depression and cases of attempted suicides.”

The support center thus, focuses on helping the survivors learn how to increase their individuality and to live for themselves. This allows them to empower those around them and encourages them to start a new life, get a new job, and improve their decision-making skills.

There are a number of methods for improving one’s mental health after facing violence.

Haya Saad, a cognitive behavioral therapist, highlighted CBT as one way of treating mental health conditions that result from violence.

The therapist explained that cognition are core beliefs that people have.

“People might have dysfunctional ways of thinking that lead to negative emotions and result in unhealthy coping mechanisms,” she said.

Saad mentioned that the technique focuses on encouraging healthy coping mechanisms after a traumatic experience.

She also discussed the effects of violence on the everyday life of the survivors.

“The functionality of people who go through violence will be hindered, especially when not treated,” said Saad. “They might find themselves unable to socialize with people around them, be it in the family or at work.”

Saad highlighted the importance of early intervention.

“Tackling the issue early on might help in avoiding severe consequences,” she told Annahar. “There are discouragements and social taboos however, when it comes to talking about domestic violence. This leaves victims not ready to discuss their experiences.”

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Welcome to “Naya,” the newest addition to Annahar’s coverage. This section aims at fortifying Lebanese women’s voices by highlighting their talents, challenges, innovations, and women’s empowerment. We will also be reporting on the world of work, family, style, health, and culture. Naya is devoted to women of all generations. Naya editor, Sally Farhat: Sally.farhat17@gmail.com

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