Mental and emotional abuse is often overlooked or minimized. It can be hard to recognize, especially if you’ve never experienced it firsthand.
However, if you suspect someone you know might be a victim of this kind of abuse, it’s crucial to know what to look for, as it can be just as harmful as physical abuse.
In this post, we’ll present the mental abuse definition, and the emotional effects of alcohol, explore the signs that someone is experiencing it, and discuss how sober living LA can help you.
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What Does It Mean to Be Mentally Abused?
Mental abuse includes using threats, verbatim threats, or other subtle tactics to control a person’s thinking patterns.
The abuse has been especially aggravated as this type of abuse targets the loss of self-confidence and destroys personal perceptions about reality and competence.
Mental abuse is considered ‘intimate and cruel violence’ because of its severe consequences for mental health.
Sometimes, if someone has a mentally abusive relationship, they can become convinced they’re crazy.
In this case, an abuser can manipulate the truth in a way that can cause doubt in memories.
What Are The Signs of Mental And Psychological Abuse?
Many signs may indicate someone is in a mentally abusive relationship. These include:
Withdrawal From Friends and Family
Isolation is a critical ingredient in mental abuse.
An abuser will try to separate their victim from family and friends to further control them.
The victim could come to think they are deserving of the abuse or that if others knew, they wouldn’t want them.
Loss of Self-Confidence
Mental abuse can result in lower self esteem. A victim can doubt their abilities and worth.
They may believe they are stupid, incompetent, or unworthy of love and respect.
An abuser may also try to gaslight their victim, a form of mental abuse where the abuser attempts to make the victim question their reality.
Anxiety or Depression
Anxiety and depression are common psychological effects of abuse.
A victim may start to feel hopeless, helpless, or trapped. They may also have difficulty sleeping, lose interest in activities they used to enjoy or turn to drugs or alcohol to cope.
Sudden Changes in Mood or Personality
Mood swings and personality changes may indicate that someone is experiencing mental abuse.
The victim may become more withdrawn, or they may act out in ways that are uncharacteristic for them.
Isolation From The Outside World
Mental abusers will try to control every aspect of their victim’s life.
Their behavior may include limiting access to money, transportation, or communication with the outside world.
The abuser may also try to control what their victim wears, who they see, and where they go.
Fearfulness or Submission Around The Abuser
A victim of mental abuse may be scared to say or do anything that would upset their abuser.
They can go out of their best to appease their abuser or stay as far away from conflict as possible.
Mental abuse can lead to self-harm or suicidal thoughts as the victim feels trapped and hopeless.
If you see any signs that someone you know is harming themselves, take it seriously and get them help.
It’s important to remember that everyone responds to abuse differently, and there is no one “right” way to act.
If you suspect someone you know is being abused, the best thing you can do is show them support and advise them to get professional assistance.
Alcohol and Emotions
There are numerous reasons why someone can decide to drink. Some people turn to alcohol to deal with negative emotions, disguise feelings, lessen pain, improve mood, induce relaxation, lower inhibitions, or acquire social acceptability.
When it comes to mental abuse, alcohol can be both a cause and a symptom.
On the one hand, drinking can trigger feelings of anxiety, aggression, and irritability that are known to contribute to mental illness. Furthermore, excessive consumption of alcohol may also mask the signs and symptoms of specific disorders, making it harder for those affected to seek help.
However, while alcohol may be harmful to those with mental illness, it is essential to note that there are ways to mitigate the adverse effects.
For example, limiting alcohol intake and avoiding situations where drinking may be expected can help people maintain healthier relationships and reduce stress levels.
Alcohol can have a compelling emotional impact on people with mental or physical health issues. However, over time, alcohol use can exacerbate these issues.
One common effect of alcohol is emotionally numbing.
This occurs when people drink to the point where they no longer feel emotions as intensely.
For some people, this can be a form of self-medication, as it can help them to cope with difficult emotions and situations like emotional and verbal abuse, physical violence, abusive behavior, sadness, anger, or anxiety.
However, while alcohol may temporarily numb the pain, it will not address the underlying issues.
Drinking to cope with emotional problems can often make them worse.
Alcohol is a depressant, so it can increase feelings of sadness and loneliness. It can also make anxiety and stress more challenging to manage.
Long-Term Mental Effects of Alcohol
People experiencing mental or emotional health issues may find momentary respite by drinking alcohol.
However, chronic alcohol misuse might exacerbate these issues. Alcohol use disorder, the medical term for alcohol addiction, can develop due to using alcohol as a coping mechanism.
People with alcohol use disorders exhibit specific symptoms, such as continuing to drink despite adverse effects on their physical and mental well-being or conflicts with friends and family.
In other words, as the addiction grows, the issues a person tries to solve with alcohol could worsen.
It’s not only the chronic drinkers who are at risk, either.
Binge drinking, which is described as ingesting vast amounts of alcohol quickly, can also have detrimental effects on the mind and the body.
Binge drinking can cause blackouts, memory loss, anxiety, and depression.
How To Get Help For Sober Living and Mental Abuse
There are various options for getting assistance if you or someone you know is experiencing emotional or mental abuse.
There are many hotlines and helplines available that can provide support and resources.
You can also find mental health professionals in your area who can help you manage your symptoms.
Hotlines and Helplines
Hotlines and helplines are invaluable resources for anyone who is experiencing mental abuse.
These services offer a secure setting where people can reach out and receive the assistance they require, be it counseling, crisis intervention, or simply a sympathetic ear.
Mental Health Professionals
Assistance from mental health specialists is crucial for those who have suffered from mental abuse, addiction issues, or alcohol abuse.
A mental health professional may use several different strategies to address these issues, including cognitive behavioral therapy to help individuals reframe their thoughts and feelings and insight-oriented talk therapy to help them process past traumas.
Support groups are essential for dealing with mental abuse and promoting sober living.
These groups can recognize mental abuse and provide a safe space where individuals struggling with these issues can share their experiences, seek support and guidance, and learn new coping mechanisms for dealing with substance abuse and recovery challenges.
While alcohol can hurt mental health, it is essential to remember that there are ways to mitigate the damage.
If you, your family members, or someone you know is struggling with emotional or mental abuse, many resources are available to help.
Hotlines, helplines, mental health professionals, and support groups can assist.