Depression and post traumatic stress disorder are two of the main illnesses seen in children after being exposed to domestic violence. Among depression and post traumatic stress disorder, there are multiple sub-categories to help place the severity of the disorder. Many influences can change the severity of a disorder in the child including but not limited to: length of exposure, type of exposure, and time-lapse since the exposure.
Domestic violence is defined as violence between members of a household such as that of a married couple or a parent to one’s child. Some cases of domestic violence can just be through witnessing while some of the more scarring events occur directly to the child. Domestic violence can be separated into three smaller categories: physical abuse, sexual abuse, and psychological abuse. The most common type of domestic violence is done through physical abuse. This can include hitting, kicking, punching, choking, etc. Physical abuse can be minor in that it just leaves bruises or a bad memory, but physical abuse can also be as serious as broken bones, time in the hospital, or as serious as death. Sexual abuse is also a very common type of abuse. Pressuring a child to do sexual acts, child pornography, and unwanted penetration to a child’s genitals are all forms of sexual abuse. Psychological abuse is the least common form of abuse performed. Psychological abuse does exactly what the name states. It’s abuse to someone through their mind such as telling someone they are fat or that they are ugly.
Domestic violence can be scary for the young children who witness it. Depending on the situation, domestic violence can have negative outcomes that can stay with the child for the rest of his/her life. Depression is repeatedly seen in children exposed to domestic violence. Another frequent long-term problem shown in children is that of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Depression is defined as being in an emotional state of sadness or hopelessness that lasts for long periods of time. Depression can be classified into three categories: major depression, atypical depression, and dysthymia depression. The most dominant type of depression is atypical depression. This type is regularly seen type in children who witness domestic violence. “Atypical depression is a common subtype of major depression. It features a specific symptom pattern, including temporary mood lift in response to positive events” (Helpguide).
Some symptoms of depression include, loss of sleep or over sleeping, finding previously enjoyed activities difficult, feeling hopeless, loss of control over negative thoughts, not eating or uncontrollable eating, irritability, thoughts that life is not worth living, etc. (Helpguide).
While depression does not seem serious, if a child is exposed to domestic violence and develops depression and does not get help, it could get progressively worse over time. As a child gets older the symptoms of...