October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic violence victims suffer from bruises, broken bones, miscarriages, head injuries, etc. Domestic violence survivors can have chronic health problems (related to past abuse) such as “back pain, headaches, memory loss, sleeping difficulties, depression, anxiety, diabetes, asthma, and digestive conditions” according to The National Center for Health Research.

The connection between past abuse and current physical problems has not always been known to patients, or doctors; one reason can be persistent stress of the relationship. So, it is very important that medical professionals screen for domestic violence, especially in an ER setting.

Patients should be warned that they could sustain brain damage if they stay in a violent relationship. Also, patients should be told that if they are strangled to the point of unconsciousness that they could suffer a stroke. Domestic violence patients should be referred to a domestic violence agency for more help.

Kristy McMahan

Phenix City, AL