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Domestic Violence and Traumatic Brain Injury

Domestic violence is a leading cause of traumatic brain injury, which is defined as a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or penetrating head injury that disrupts normal brain functioning. In cases of domestic violence, traumatic brain injuries are often caused by a hit on the head with an external object, smashing the head against the wall or floor, violent repeated shaking of the body and head, and choking and strangulation. 

While you may notice some very clear changes in your behavior caused by the traumatic brain injury, effects are often much more subtle. If you have recently experienced one of the common causes above, be aware of any changes in your behavior such as:

  • Increased feelings of depression and anxiety
  • Difficulty when learning new information and remembering past experiences
  • Lack of motivation and increased irritability
  • Consistent headaches, dizziness and sleep disturbances
  • Amplified confusion and difficulty performing everyday tasks such as caring for yourself and navigating the community
  • Distracted easily, particularly when trying to perform more than one task at a time
  • Trouble remembering things, appointments, etc.

If you experience any of the symptoms, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible. Traumatic brain injuries affect all people differently but should always be taken seriously. With domestic violence victims in particular, the risk of repeat injury is very high due to decreased reaction time and lack of awareness after the first injury. Protecting yourself from permanent brain damage may require the help of an outside source, such as a doctor or the advocate at your local domestic violence organization, and is essential to recovery.

Learn more from Brain Injury Alliance of Connecticut (BIAC), Connecticut’s resource for more than 30 years for brain injury awareness, education, resources and support. BIAC's toll-free helpline is 800.278.8242.