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Substance Abuse and Domestic Violence

Substance abuse and domestic violence are undeniably related. Approximately 1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men have encountered domestic violence from an intimate partner throughout their lives. In a lot of these cases, substance abuse has a factor in abusive behavior.

Usually, this opens the floodgates to drug and alcohol addiction, more emotional abuse, and violent acts. Below we will explore the relationship between these two circumstances and the steps you can take in finding help.

What Is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence, also known as intimate partner violence, is tragically prevalent across the world. The cause is usually an unhealthy relationship where one or both involved in the relationship physically or emotionally abuse the other.

These behaviors are exhibited in multiple ways. It may include power imbalances, lack of respect, and empathy. Domestic violence is such a significant predicament that it is the highest leading cause of injury to women across the nation. Still, domestic victims are not always women. Domestic violence victims could be men, parents, children, animals, and even elderly loved ones.

Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior in a relationship that’s practiced by an intimate partner to obtain or control power and authority. When coupled with substance addiction, domestic violence can swiftly escalate into a dangerous circumstance that is hard to leave.

For some, the pain that stems from being a victim of domestic violence could trigger substance abuse. Women who have suffered from domestic violence become 15 times more prone to alcohol abuse, and nine times more prone to drug abuse.

There are numerous different forms of domestic abuse which include:

  • Elderly abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Financial abuse
  • Image-based abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Psychological abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Social abuse
  • Spiritual abuse
  • Verbal abuse

Behavioral examples that are characterized as domestic abuse include:

  • Controlling the victim by telling them what they can do
  • Dictating how the victim dresses or wears their hair
  • Discouraging the victim from seeking family or friends 
  • Embarrassing the victim with insults
  • Frightening the victim
  • Pressuring the victim to do things against their will
  • Stopping the victim from making their own decisions
  • Telling the victim they can’t do anything right
  • Threatening the victim

Substance Abuse and Causes of Domestic Violence

The National Institute of Health Study concluded that researchers found that 61% of domestic violence offenders also abused drugs or alcohol. They also discovered that over 50% of spousal homicide cases involved substance use the day of the crime.

Studies from the U.S. Department of Justice also found that 92% of domestic violence offenders were taking some form of drugs or alcohol. In more than half of all domestic violence cases, offenders had used substances daily for the previous month before the incident.

The statistical connection between substance addiction and domestic violence is obvious and well-documented. Habitual substance abuse is one of the highest principal risk factors of domestic violence. Substance abuse can also lead to further drastic cases of domestic violence.

All kinds of domestic violence start from one partner’s desire for power and control over another. Substance abuse and addiction are linked to domestic violence. When someone becomes intoxicated from drugs or alcohol, they become likely to lower their inhibitions. Being under the influence of substances will dramatically enhance the possibilities of abusive behavior.

Nearly 80% of domestic abuse crimes are associated with substance abuse.

When someone starts to abuse drugs and alcohol, their brain chemicals become rewired to find more substances, despite any adverse consequences of the result. This can produce violent, irrational, or controlling behavior within an intimate relationship.

Substance abuse and domestic violence share several characteristics which include:

  • Abuse and addiction tend to worsen over time
  • Both conditions involve shame or denial
  • Continued behavior despite adverse consequences
  • Losing control

The risk of domestic violence rises when both lovers suffer from substance addiction. It might become difficult while being under the influence, for the victim to realize how much danger they are really in. They will probably have a tough time defending themselves against their partner’s attack or being able to reach out for help. 

Domestic abuse is a vicious cycle, as the abused partner could be unwilling to report the attack because of fear that the partner will emotionally, physically, or financially retaliate. Domestic abuse that is left untreated can continue to immortalize an unhealthy strain in the relationship that might conclude with severe consequences.

Effects of Substance Abuse and Domestic Violence

Recent studies have shown domestic violence victims are unable to recognize the red flags of a violent circumstance because of their substance abuse. More disturbing is that domestic violence victims who suffer from addiction are fearful of repeat violence. Often, fear leads them to gain the courage to leave the abusive relationship, which could eventually result in the victim’s homicide.

Victims of domestic violence are more prone to develop patterns of unhealthy behavior that will promote substance abuse. These patterns include emotional and mental health problems like:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Insomnia
  • Lower self-esteem
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Substance abuse and addiction
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Weight gain or loss

The effects of substance abuse and domestic violence are far-reaching. Victims of domestic violence become more likely to struggle with many mental health disorders and will require inpatient addiction treatment rehab to overcome the trauma of abuse.

Substance Abuse Includes More Than Drugs and Alcohol

Currently, the U.S. in the grips of a widespread opioid epidemic. Many people require opioids to manage their pain, but opioids are a highly addictive drug that leads to addiction. People might associate substance abuse and domestic violence with illegal street drugs, but prescription drugs are linked to violent tendencies as well. 

Amphetamines and opioids are prescription drugs that are commonly related to domestic violence. But other prescription medications that are considered safe have also been connected to violence.

For example, Prozac, which is an antidepressant, has been associated with a 10.9 times higher probability of domestic violence. Chantix, which is a more severe drug, is a standard option for people wanting to quit smoking cigarettes. This drug is connected with approximately 20 times increased likelihood of domestic violence behavior.

Substance Abuse Isn’t The Only Component of Domestic Violence

While substance addiction might be commonly shared in domestic abuse cases, experts suggest that it is not the sole cause of domestic violence. An addiction treatment program will be necessary in getting help, but it is not a remedy for underlying violent tendencies.

Many offenders either witnessed or were victims of abuse during their youth. This makes people more likely to abuse substances, which plays a significant role in reviving dormant tendencies.

Likewise, many domestic violence victims frequently turn to substance abuse as a way to cope. This creates a hazardous sequence of both physical and substance abuse that transfers from generation to generation.

Substance abuse symptoms might not appear immediately. Many domestic violence victims frequently cope in silence by self-medicating with alcohol and drugs. Eventually, both offenders and victims should seek substance abuse counseling.

For domestic violence offenders, it’s crucial to obtain more comprehensive treatment programs—these cover both the addiction and other issues like anger management. The purpose of this form of therapy is to create healthy outlets so that domestic violence offenders can channel their energy correctly. 

Identifying Signs of Domestic Abuse in Others

As a loved one of a possible offender, you might be the only hope in recognizing signs of substance abuse and domestic violence. Both the offender and the victim might hide the substance abuse and violence. Many victims are afraid to discuss the situation with others. They have a fear of consequences like their partner inflicting more violence against them.

Signs of substance abuse include:

  • Abrupt changes in behavior
  • Absent from work, school, or social events
  • Continuously validating acceptance of their partner
  • Excuses for wounds
  • Lacking money or borrowing money constantly
  • Wearing unsuitable clothing 

Several of these signs are indicative of substance abuse. If you’ve noticed any of these changes with a loved one, it is crucial to seek help right away.

A Clear Connection Between Substance Abuse and Domestic Violence

There are many sophisticated characteristics to understand related to the link between substance abuse and domestic violence. Detox and substance abuse counseling are crucial first steps. But, it’s also critical for both the victim and offender to seek therapy for emotional abuse. This helps in managing mental health issues associated with domestic violence.

Furthermore, the counselor might need to examine the roots of the patient’s drug-seeking behavior and help them in reducing triggers that create hazardous actions. Finding the right treatment program is the only way for the offender can eliminate the vicious cycle of substance addiction and domestic violence.

Free By The Sea Can Help 

Here at Free By The Sea, we can help you begin the journey to a lifestyle of sobriety and recovery in our state-of-the-art facility.

If you or one of your loved ones is struggling with substance addiction, our team of treatment specialists can help. We use a personalized approach to substance addiction treatment. Our focus is on treating the disease at the core while putting our patients first each step of the way.

Treatment programs include residential, partial hospitalization, crisis care services, intensive outpatient treatment, and other personalized health levels of care. Our on-site rehab treatment programs concentrate on a comprehensive recovery strategy. Addiction treatment specialists will address your mental, physical, and spiritual needs to achieve optimal wellness.

Some are struggling with long-term addiction, while others might be fighting powerful temptations. Our team at Free by the Sea can help you in this fight for sobriety. Contact us today and allow us to give you all the answers you seek.

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