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Domestic Abuse and Diabetes – What’s the Connection!

Domestic abuse and diabetes

A study has shown, that women who survive domestic abuse are more likely to develop diabetes. In the UK, researchers found that women who experienced domestic abuse had a 51% higher chance of having type 2 diabetes. 


Why is this? There are a couple factors that could contribute to this. The first being stress, when someone feels stressed, your body releases the stress hormones - cortisol and adrenaline. This should give you an energy boost for a ‘fight or flight’ response, but the hormones actually make it harder for insulin to work properly, known as insulin resistance. As energy can’t get into your cells, your blood sugar levels rise. When in an abusive relationship, the victim is exposed to severe levels of stress for prolonged periods of times, often for years.


Another factor is lack of sleep, often while in an abusive relationship, the perpetrator will use sleep deprivation as a manipulation tactic. Getting poor sleep is linked to high blood sugar levels in people. Researchers believe that sleep deprivation affects blood sugar levels due to its effects on insulin, cortisol, and oxidative stress. Oxidative stress causes insulin resistance, β-cell dysfunction, impaired glucose tolerance, and mitochondrial dysfunction, which can lead to diabetes. Even partial sleep deprivation over one night increases insulin resistance, which can in turn increase blood sugar levels.


So, when you think about the two factors mentioned, it is not surprising that domestic abuse can cause diabetes.


The study mentioned above, also showed that the figure of 51% could be more, as domestic abuse is under reported. Also, this study focused on women, and although 1 in 4 women are victims of domestic abuse, 1 in 6 men, are also abused.


If you are unsure if your relationship is abusive, please reach out for assistance. Some signs of an abusive relationship are:


Emotional Abuse: Emotional abuse is an attack on your emotions and feelings. If your partner makes you feel small, controlled or as if you’re unable to talk about what’s wrong, it’s abusive. If you feel like your partner is stopping you from being able to express yourself, it’s abusive. If you feel you have to change your actions to accommodate your partner’s behaviour, it’s abusive.

Physical Abuse: Physical abuse is any intentional and unwanted contact with you or something close to your body. Sometimes abusive behaviour does not cause pain or even leave a bruise, but it’s still physical abusive.

Sexual Abuse: Sexual abuse is any action that pressures or coerces you to do something sexually you don’t want to do. Or on the flip side, claiming you want sex too much, making you feel bad for wanting intimacy. Claiming impotence when there is no medical reason for it. Refusing to be intimate or sexual with you.

Financial Abuse: Financial abuse can be very subtle. It can include telling you what you can and can’t buy or requiring you to share control of your bank accounts. At no point does someone have the right to use money to control you.

Digital Abuse: Digital abuse is the use of technology to bully, harass, and stalk you. Digital abuse is the use of technology to bully, harass, and stalk you. In a healthy relationship, all communication is respectful whether in person, online or by phone. It is never okay for someone to do or say anything that makes you feel bad, lowers your self-esteem or manipulates you.


Spiritual Abuse: Spiritual abuse happens when lies are told as if those lies are the truth of God. Spiritual abuse is not limited to a certain religion or denomination. Any person, of any belief system, is capable of perpetrating spiritual abuse.


Abuse is about controlling and using others for their own gain - not love! Abusers will use various tactics to keep a person manageable, under their control and in their “possession”. These tactics are what keep victims trapped, confused, going around in circles, not knowing what's happening.

If you need support, please reach out to me, or contact your local domestic abuse charity. You are not alone, and there are resources to help you.


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