Working Together to Address Domestic Violence Among Veterans
Most veterans do not have psychiatric illness and do not have problems with domestic violence, but PTSD is a strong risk factor for intimate partner violence. Other risk factors include depression and substance use disorders, and the risk is compounded by the presence of several factors. Clinicians should screen for domestic violence among veterans and their partners using direct, nonjudgmental questions. To improve their relationships, veterans may need help with problems such as mistrust, low esteem for self or others, and power/control conflicts. Veterans and their intimate partners should also receive education about any psychiatric diagnosis that is given, the problem of survival-mode thinking at home, and available resources such as cognitive-behavioral interventions to prevent or stop domestic violence. When addressing a veteran’s domestic violence, coordination of care is necessary to reduce recidivism. With intimate partners, clinicians should discuss the support system and safety plan.
J Clin Psychiatry 2013;74(12):e25
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