In a new study conducted by Barrow Neurological Institute, researchers find a link between domestic violence and brain injury.
In Barrow Concussion and Brain Injury Center, a specialty program has been established to treat traumatic brain injury (TBI) in domestic violence survivors.
TBI, such as concussions, is common in domestic violence victims because of the high frequency of head and neck injuries during abuse. These recurrent injuries can lead to chronic symptoms.
In addition, women who previously suffered silently are becoming more aware of the real issue of concussions from their abuse.
In the study, researchers performed a review of 115 victims (109 females and 6 males) in the program to obtain data for the research.
The result showed that overall, 88% of victims reported more than one injury and 81% reported a history of loss of consciousness associated with their injuries. However, only 21% sought medical help at the time of injury.
Whereas 85% of victims had a history of abuse in adulthood, 22% had experienced abuse in both childhood and adulthood, and 60% of the patients abused as children went on to be abused as adults.
Among all the victims, headache was the most common complaint, but on a self-reported symptom severity scale, behavioral symptoms were the most severe. Psychiatric disease was shown in 84% of victims.
Researchers suggest that traumatic brain injury is a frequent consequence of domestic violence. Moreover, many victims have more than one injury without seeking medical care.
The brain injuries are often sustained over many years and lead to long-term harm to the body and mental health.
Future research will expand brain injury awareness and offer treatment more readily into the care of the domestic violence survivor, both in and out of the shelter.
Citation: Zieman G, et al. Traumatic Brain Injury in Domestic Violence Victims: A Retrospective Study at the Barrow Neurological Institute. Journal of Neurotrauma, published online. DOI: 10.1089/neu.2016.4579.
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