Domestic Violence

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a criminal act of domestic violence is one of several possible causes of strangulation injuries. People who engage in physical abuse of a domestic partner seek to exert control over him or her. Strangulation is an effective way of doing so because it demonstrates one’s ability to kill one’s partner. That may be the reason for the prevalence of strangulation in reported domestic violence incidents. 

The Brain Injury Association of America explains that each of the two types of strangulation involves cutting off the air passages and blood vessels in the neck by applying pressure. Ligature strangulation involves using an object to apply the pressure, such as a scarf or a rope. When one applies the pressure directly with one’s hands, that is manual strangulation. Even if the individual subject to strangulation survives, it can cause complications. 

What are the symptoms of strangulation? 

Following strangulation, the individual may lose consciousness, become dizzy, experience changes in memory or have headaches. He or she may have trouble breathing or hyperventilate. Pain in the throat can make it difficult to swallow, and the voice may become hoarse. The individual may experience sensory changes, such as impaired hearing or vision. There may also be behavioral changes or PTSD symptoms. 

What are the complications of strangulation? 

Applying pressure to the airway and blood vessels deprives the brain of oxygen. The brain can only go a few minutes without oxygen before brain cells start to die. Strangulation can put one at risk for a later stroke, as well as other long-term or delayed complications, such as respiratory issues, arterial complications or blood clots. Some of these complications may eventually prove fatal.