Victimization and Depression

Victimization and DepressionA study, funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), used data from the National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence (NatSCEV) and the Developmental Victimization Survey (DVS) to examine children who experienced forms of victimization including the following:

  • Physical assault
  • Child maltreatment
  • Sexual abuse
  • Bullying
  • Witness to violence at home, in school, or in the community

The findings include the following:

  • Forty-nine percent of youth experienced two or more kinds of victimization or exposure to violence, crime, or abuse in the last year, and 8 percent of youth experienced seven or more.
  • Poly-victimized youth were more likely to experience serious victimization, faced more life adversities, and showed more signs of psychological distress than their peers.
  • Factors most associated with poly-victimization included living in a violent family or neighborhood, living in a distressed and chaotic family, and having preexisting psychological symptoms.
  • Victimization usually persisted over time and was most likely to start near the beginning of elementary or high school.

The physical, mental, and emotional harm caused by poly-victimization is likely to accumulate and multiply over time.

Emotional Impact of Victimization

Another study, sponsored by the National Institutes on Health (NIH) analyzed the association between specific types of peer victimization with depression, suicidal ideation, and suicide attempts among adolescents. The analyses indicated that frequent exposure to all types of peer victimization was related to high risk for depression and suicide attempts compared to students not victimized. The study also revealed that the risk factors for adolescent depression and suicide were greatly increased as more types of victimization (poly-victimization) were experienced.

Victimization and Depression

According to the Mayo Clinic, depression is a medical illness that causes a persistent feeling of sadness, loss of interest, and physical symptoms. Depression affects how you feel, think, and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems.

Unfortunately, many adolescents and adults who are victims of abuse do not seek the treatment they need. Often, it is feelings of shame, guilt, or low self-esteem that prevent a person from seeking help. However, left untreated, depression can lead to complications including the following:

  • Alcohol abuse
  • Substance abuse
  • Anxiety
  • Work or school problems
  • Family conflicts
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Social isolation
  • Suicide
  • Self-mutilation, such as cutting

It is important that people with depression reach out for help because it is quite common that if they do not seek help, they will find another manner to deal with the emotional pain associated with depression. These other methods, such as substance abuse, can exacerbate the depression and lead a person to believe that he has limited choices.

An effective treatment program for depression can help prevent people from seeking alcohol or drugs to respond to their emotional needs. If a person is experiencing both depression and substance abuse, it is important to seek an integrated addiction treatment program that is experienced in dealing with these co-occurring conditions.

Get Help for Depression and Addiction

The sooner you can get help, the greater the likelihood that you can recover. To be assured of confidentiality as well as to receive answers to any questions you might have, call our toll-free number any time; our admission coordinators are available 24 hours a day. We want to help you find the right treatment program to handle depression and addiction and can provide you with options, information about insurance, and resources.

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