Recent Blog Articles

Harvard Health Blog

Intimate partner violence and traumatic brain injury: An “invisible” public health epidemic

December 13, 2018


As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.


January 14, 2019

Does TMS work for TBI. I heard that it helps with depression and that some TBI’s can cause this also. My girlfriend’s father fell off a ladder and we later discovered he started to become depressed and angry. I am not sure if this works for TBI issues.

Eve Valera
January 15, 2019

Yes – depression and irritability as well as more difficulty with impulse control could all be possible symptoms of the TBI. Regrading TMS, there can be a role for TMS in some treatment of depression but you would want to have your friend’s father evaluated. A good person to talk to about TMS would be Dr. Joan Camprodon at MGH as that is his specialty. Best of luck to you!

Suzanne Griffin TBI Survivor
December 29, 2018

I have heard that someone who is in Domestic Violance, should be evauluated at least every 6 months, if not more. Once you receive a TBI you are 3 times likely to get a 2nd and 8 times likely to get a 3rd.

Even Several Mild TBI’s are Not Mid, and can become severe

Eve Valera
January 3, 2019

Yes – once you sustain one TBI your chances of sustaining another go up and there are definitely cumulative effects in many cases. As you mention, repetitive “mild” TBIs can have long lasting negative effects – some of which we may not even be aware of. All that said, how often someone should be evaluated really depends on the situation.

Michael Kaplen
December 28, 2018

I was honored to present the keynote address to the American Academy of Matrimonial Attorneys Foundation on the silent epidemic of domestic violence. You can view and share my power point presentation here:

December 23, 2018

After experiencing severe long term psychological/ emotional abuse from an ex-spouse I wish there could be more awareness/research of how this type of abuse affects the brain as well. I came out of that situation with learning problems among many other symptoms similar to TBIs. Tests I had done even validated this. I think Domestic Violence organizations understand this but the law enforcement and courts don’t always see it as abuse.

Arlene Valera
December 21, 2018

Since TBI’s affect so many people and there, incredibly, was so little research done on this, it’s wonderful that finally work is being done on this problem. Your work on this subject has been a real eye-opener since usually the problem is unseen & thus unacknowledged. Great job, Eve!

Amy Lamb-Eng
December 17, 2018

Thank you for this article and for trying to encourage an increased recognition of intimate partner violence related TBI. As the Program Director for the Alabama Head Injury Foundation, I can attest that this is a growing population among the clients that we serve, and further research and awareness is needed.

Shirley Fitzgerald, RN, BS
December 21, 2018

I agree that further research is needed however as long as groups actively encourage women to use false reports of IPV to gain child custody in divorces and advocates tamper with witnesses embellishing and exaggerating subjective police and medical reports, they do the true victims a serious disservice. Prosecutors who exaggerate and embellish IPV injuries eg. Taking bruise photos on day 3 when nurses know bruises are most likely to look their worst also do IPV victims a huge disservice as there is no way to prove via chain of custody that the IPV BRUISES in the photos are actually the result of the claimed IPV and not another event that happened in the interim.

Eve Valera
December 21, 2018

Thank you Amy for your comment. I would love to hear more about what you are finding and/or offer materials that could be useful to your and your staff. Feel free to email if interested.

Happy holidays!

Robert Demichelis II
December 16, 2018

Eve, be interested if you think this bill addresses your findings and concerns.
H.R.7212 – Violence Against Women Health Act of 2018115th Congress (2017-2018)

Eve Valera
December 17, 2018

Hi Robert – The bill (if renewed) is certainly a step in the right direction for domestic violence in general. However, it still does not specifically address the “hidden” danger of TBI or help ensure accountability for perpetrators. Just as we have become aware of concussions in athletics on the fields, we need to become aware of the concussions from partner violence in our homes. We need to acknowledge it so that we can start to understand its short and long term effects through research in order to help the possibly millions of women who have sustained repetitive concussions/TBIs.

Commenting has been closed for this post.

You might also be interested in…

Anxiety and Stress Disorders

Everyone worries or gets scared sometimes. But if you feel extremely worried or afraid much of the time, or if you repeatedly feel panicky, you may have an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental illnesses, affecting roughly 40 million American adults each year. This Special Health Report, Anxiety and Stress Disorders, discusses the latest and most effective treatment approaches, including cognitive behavioral therapies, psychotherapy, and medications. A special section delves into alternative treatments for anxiety, such as relaxation techniques, mindfulness meditation, and biofeedback.

Read More

Free Healthbeat Signup

Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Thanks for visiting. Don't miss your FREE gift.

The Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness, is yours absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health, plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise, pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more.

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss...from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts.

BONUS! Sign up now and
get a FREE copy of the
Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Stay on top of latest health news from Harvard Medical School.

Plus, get a FREE copy of the Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness.