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Are Battered Women Mentally Ill?

Question:

Is being a battered woman a mental disorder?

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  • Dr. Dombeck responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
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Answer:

No. Battered woman are victims. Being abused is not in of itself a mental illness. However, being the victim of domestic violence is just about as stressful a living situation as can possibly exist, and this high level of chronic stress and exposure to danger can easily lead an abused woman to develop psychological problems including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Women who are in abusive relationships of any type should contact their local women’s shelter and the police for tips on how to make the abuse stop. Obvious forms of abuse include physical and sexual assault, but even name-calling and put-downs count as real abuse.

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