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Emotional abuse can be difficult to recognize. It’s a type of abuse that often leaves no physical evidence, which can make it harder to detect. However, emotional abuse can manifest in physical ways that are visible to others. The sufferer may not notice the changes, but the people around them will.

In this article, we’ll be discussing 14 physical signs of emotional abuse. By understanding these signs, you can recognize emotional abuse in your own life or in the life of someone you care about and get help.

Changes in appetite or weight

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Emotional abuse can cause a person to have changes in their eating habits. They may eat less or more frequently, leading to weight loss or gain.

Sleeping problems

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A common physical ailment for victims of emotional abuse is insomnia or, on the flip side of that, sleeping too much. For some, their bodies and minds are so stressed out they will tend to sleep a lot, while others are so anxious they can’t sleep at all.

Constant headaches or migraines

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Stress/tension headaches are also a common ailment caused by emotional abuse. The victim is under so much stress mentally and emotionally constantly that it manifests itself into headaches.

Unexplained body aches

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Someone suffering from emotional abuse may experience pain in random body parts such as the lower back, shoulders, stomach, etc. These pains are caused by the emotions being trapped in the body and manifest in physical pain.

Digestive issues

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Emotional abuse can lead to stress-related digestive problems like diarrhea, nausea, and constipation. Many victims have trouble eating or eating poorly (emotional eaters or not eating at all), which leads to digestive issues.

High blood pressure

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The stress caused by emotional abuse can increase blood pressure, which, if not managed, can lead to serious health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, and kidney damage/failure.

Skin rashes or welts

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Stress caused by emotional abuse can lead to skin reactions, such as rashes, hives, or welts. Common skin issues that are made worse by stress include acne, rosacea, psoriasis, itching, eczema, and pain, just to name a few.

Hair loss or thinning

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The stress caused by emotional abuse can lead to hair loss or thinning over time. Changes in mood can trigger hormonal imbalances, which lead to hair loss,

Chronic fatigue

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Emotional abuse can cause chronic fatigue, which can manifest as extreme tiredness, lack of energy, and difficulty sleeping. While some victims do sleep a lot due to emotional abuse, they still suffer from fatigue as their bodies shut down and can no longer cope.

Self-harming behaviors

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Emotional abuse can lead to self-harm behaviors like cutting or burning. Some sufferers will start picking their skin, pulling their hair, or other self-harming acts without realizing they are caused by nervousness due to their abuse.

Substance abuse

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While substance abuse isn’t a physical symptom, it can lead to addiction, which in turn causes physical ailments. To deal with emotional abuse, a person may turn to drugs or alcohol to cope.

Suicidal thoughts or attempts

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In severe cases of emotional abuse, a person may attempt or consider suicide. Some sufferers feel their life is completely hopeless and don’t see a way out from the abuse they are experiencing.

Increased anxiety or panic attacks

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Emotional abuse can cause anxiety and panic attacks as a response to the stress and pressure caused by the abuser. For some, these attacks are confusing as they’ve never experienced them before and are not sure how to cope with them.

Neglecting personal care

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Those experiencing emotional abuse may no longer care about their appearance, hygiene, or even nutritional intake. They can go days without showering or brushing their teeth. This also is a good indicator of depression and should be addressed immediately.

Conclusion

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Emotional abuse can be devastating and cause physical damage. It’s important to recognize the physical signs of emotional abuse and seek help if you need it. If you or someone you know is experiencing emotional abuse, know that there is help available. No one deserves to experience emotional abuse, and there is support out there for those who need it. Speak up, get help, and know that you are not alone.

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