According to Wikipedia : "A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure or function of all or part of an organism, and that is not due to any immediate external injury. Diseases are often known to be medical conditions that are associated with specific signs and symptoms." Watch this video to understand the disease of addiction, high conflict divorce, and domestic violence.
A disease is an entity that can be diagnostically identified as “abnormalities not in a patient’s clinical (normal/healthy) state, for example fever, jaundice or chest pain, and that those abnormalities exist in a single paraclinical entity”.
The paraclinical abnormalities of the disease can be diagnostically cited in the following terms:
The principal “lesion” of each such paraclinical disease has an associated spectrum of diverse clinical manifestations that may not always occur specifically or consistently.
Courtesy of Dr. Alvan R. Feinstein, in his essay entitled Science, Clinical Medicine, and the Spectrum of Disease published in The Textbook of Medicine by Dr. Paul Beeson.
Domestic Violence is its own disease of addiction just like alcoholism, gambling addiction, or drug addiction. Contrary to popular belief, DV does not require the presence of physical or sexual abuse. The psychopathology and repetitive behavior patterns seen in a bitter divorce are similar to those of DV.
The principal “lesion” of each such paraclinical disease has an associated spectrum of diverse clinical manifestations that may not always occur specifically or consistently. On the DV spectrum of disease, DV presents with many different variations (ie. physical abuse in one person and financial abuse in another).
Also of importance is that just as in PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), there is a wide spectrum of variations in the severity or acuity of a victim’s response to the psychological trauma of domestic violence.
It is important to recognize DV as it’s own disease of addiction with a wide array of presentations. This is because similar to what can be expected to occur with any other disease process, addressing just a single symptom of a larger pathophysiological process does not cure the disease, and it does not prevent other expressions of the disease from recurring. Victims of any disease process, such as those victim to the disease of diabetes, experience a greater severity of untoward effects when an undiagnosed condition is left untreated. Additionally, victims of any untreated disease process experience a greater probability of untoward long term complications. In the case of diabetes, this can manifest in renal insufficiency, neuropathy, poor circulation especially to the distal extremities resulting in gangrene, and poor wound healing after surgery. If DV were to be recognized as a disease, this would allow for earlier detection rates of DV, the ability to more effectively target treatment at the distinct pathophysiology of the disease of DV, which is separate and distinct from the treatment of a similar and sometimes overlapping diseases such as alcoholism, gambling addiction, or substance abuse/addiction
Alcoholism was first recognized as a disease in 1956 by the AMA. Among the many benefits of this decision as evidenced in the medical literature, designating alcoholism as a disease, as opposed a simple repetitive behavioral pattern, resulted in improved recovery rates and decreased psychological trauma to the victim of the disease process.
In court, victims of DV are often sent to jail for committing a crime rather than sent to rehab or therapy to get help for their addiction to the need to be needed.If divorce and domestic violence could be recognized by the AMA as a disease, we could change the entire system and improve the quality of life for so many people. Between 960,000 and 3,000,000 incidents of domestic violence are reported each year, while many other incidents go unreported.The impact on our jail overcrowding alone would be astounding
If domestic violence was formally recognized as a disease by the AMA, just as alcoholism was acknowledged as a disease in 1956, then victims of the disease of DV could be sent to rehab instead of jail and receive the psychological help that they need and deserve. Have we as a society not failed her enough already?