Elizabeth Holmes’ rise to fame and fall to infamy was spectacular in many ways. The youngest self-made female billionaire according to Forbes – a media darling – was soon after charged with defrauding patients and investors alike by covering up issues with what was thought-to-be a transformational technology. Shortly, Ms. Holmes will be going on trial to determine if her actions were indeed fraudulent. Regardless, of her guilt or innocence, her defense team may be using a rather uncommon approach to avoid a guilty verdict – that of intimate partner abuse.
This article is not meant to pass judgment, one way or another, on the defendants in this trial. Nor does it seek to offer an opinion on the validity of intimate partner abuse as defense for committing this or any crime. Rather, this case presents an opportunity to shine the spotlight on a very real problem for millions of Americans and what can be done to treat the effects of intimate partner abuse, which can include long-term mental illness and trauma along with substance abuse.
Defining intimate partner abuse or violence
Intimate partner abuse and violence does not have any racial or sexual orientation bounds. In fact, sexual intimacy is not even necessarily required for intimate partner abuse to occur. Intimate partner abuse can have physical or psychological manifestations. It can also consist of sexual violence or stalking. Current or former intimate partners may be to blame. Considering how prevalent the problem is, it is under addressed. As an example, about one in five women and one and seven men have reported experiencing severe physical violence from an intimate partner. And the consequences are not only physical. Survivors of intimate partner abuse can experience depression, posttraumatic stress disorder and anxiety. They may engage in sexually risky behavior, they have a higher incidence of smoking and binge drinking and ultimately may turn to substance abuse to numb the pain.
Treatment for survivors of intimate partner abuse
The manifestations of a trauma such as intimate partner abuse can be many and varied. While most only see the outward signs – physical violence – the psychological scars associated with this kind of abuse do not go away without proper treatment. Victims who seek help early are often better able to cope with their trauma and can often avoid substance abuse issues in the future. However, some are not as lucky and turn to alcohol and drugs for help. These patients require comprehensive dual diagnosis treatment for the co-occurring disorders of both mental health issues and substance abuse problems. A highly qualified team of clinicians, such as those found Destination Hope can properly diagnose and ultimately treat these co-occurring disorders to reduce the risk of relapse and minimize the continuing negative effects on the patient and their families.
If you or a loved one has been a victim of intimate partner violence, the first step is to speak to somebody about it. Doing so may answer many questions in your mind and may be the first step towards healing from what is by any account, a traumatic experience.
The representatives here at Destination Hope are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to speak about your experience and the options you may have for seeking treatment.