The Link Between Domestic Violence and Substance Use

Domestic Violence and Substance Use

The link between domestic violence and substance abuse is undeniable. An intimate partner in their lives has abused almost 1 in 5 women. But, it’s not just women; 1 in 7 men also experience domestic violence. In many cases, drugs or alcohol play a part in abusive behavior. However, with substance use and domestic violence treatment, this behavior can change. 

What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior by an intimate partner in any relationship. This abuse is to gain and maintain control and power over the other partner. But, when domestic violence and substance abuse collide, the abuse can quickly spiral out of control. 

Being a victim of domestic violence can even trigger the misuse of drugs or alcohol. In fact, women who are victims of abuse are 9 times more likely to misuse drugs, and 15 times more likely to misuse alcohol. However, domestic violence is not always physical abuse. It is any type of harmful behavior used to control a person and make them fearful. 

Different forms of domestic violence include:

  • Emotional Abuse
  • Physical Abuse
  • Psychological Abuse
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Verbal Abuse
  • Elderly Abuse
  • Social Abuse

If you or someone you love is in an abusive relationship, it’s time to get help before things get worse. Domestic violence treatment can rebuild self-worth and overall well being. 

Statistics of Domestic Violence and Substance Misuse

Domestic violence and substance abuse are serious public health issues. Almost 10 percent of American adults struggle with misusing drugs and alcohol. At the same time, domestic violence and substance abuse result in 3 women a day being murdered by their partner. 

The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics states, 85 percent of domestic violence reports have female victims. The CDC also highlights the connection between domestic violence and substance abuse with the following facts.

  • Over 30 percent of men drank before committing domestic violence, with 90 percent of them abusing substances on the same day.
  • In cases where men tried to kill their spouses, two-thirds of them involved alcohol. While a quarter of men who did kill their spouse were on drugs and alcohol. 
  • Domestic violence and substance abuse together often results in prison and protection orders.

What are the Signs of Domestic Violence?

Although there are many signs of domestic violence, fear of their partner is the tell-tell sign. For example, watching what you say and do to avoid your partner getting mad is a sign of domestic violence. This behavior leads to feeling helpless, desperate, and self-loathing. 

Inner Thoughts and Feelings

Do you:

  • Feel afraid of your partner most of the time?
  • Feel you do everything wrong?
  • Avoid talking about specific things to avoid a blowup?
  • Think you are the crazy one?
  • Believe you deserve this treatment?
  • Feel helpless?

Belittling Behavior

Does your partner:

  • Yell or humiliate you?
  • Criticize you?
  • Ignore or put down your opinions?
  • Embarrasses you in front of friends and family?
  • Blames you for the abuse?
  • Believes you are property, not a person?

Violent Behaviors

Does your partner:

  • Have a bad temper?
  • Threaten to hurt or kill you?
  • Threaten suicide if you leave?
  • Puts their hands on you?
  • Force you to have sex?
  • Destroy your belongings?

Controlling Behaviors

Does your partner:

  • Always checks on you?
  • Control what you do and where you go?
  • Keep you from seeing friends and family?
  • Limits access to the car, phone, and money?

Because domestic violence and substance abuse often go hand in hand, this can intensify abusive behaviors. But, seeking addiction and domestic violence treatment can help the abuser recognize and change these behaviors. 

Link Between Domestic Violence and Substance Abuse

The desire to control another person’s life is where domestic violence originates. Similarly, addiction or substance use disorder (SUD) also plays a role in domestic violence. When a person is high on drugs or alcohol, they typically lose their inhibitions. This can result in abusive behaviors. 

Misusing drugs and alcohol rewire the chemicals in the brain. This rewiring causes the body to seek the substance despite the consequences. For instance, a person can become controlling, irrational, and violent in their relationships. 

Domestic violence and substance abuse have common characteristics, including:

  • A loss of control
  • Continuing the behaviors despite the results
  • Worsen over time
  • Involve shame and denial

If both partners struggle with addiction, the risk of domestic violence increases. A person may also not realize they are in real danger when under the influence. It can also be difficult to defend oneself from an attack or to call for help. 

Domestic violence and substance abuse can be vicious cycles, particularly if the victim refuses to report the abuse. Victims of abuse often fear their abuser will retaliate financially, emotionally, or physically. Above all, without domestic violence treatment, the violence may continue and have life-threatening consequences. 

Can Addiction fuel Emotional Abuse?

Physical violence is not the only abusive behavior in relationships. At the same time, a person doesn’t need bruises to be abused. Men and women both are victims of emotional abuse. Emotional abuse is just as destructive even though it’s often downplayed even by the victim. 

Above all, emotional abuse chips away at the victim’s feelings of self-worth and independence. As a result, they can feel stuck in the relationship, and they would be nothing without their partner. 

Emotional abuse and addiction have a complicated relationship. Addiction can increase emotional abuse; however, emotional abuse can also lead to addiction. Emotional or mental abuse involves a person isolating, controlling, and manipulating their partner. This abuse involves regular and persistent threats and statements. 

The Effects of Domestic Violence and Substance Abuse

Domestic violence and substance abuse can affect a victim’s mental health. They are at higher risk of developing mental health disorders needing inpatient domestic violence treatment. 

Mental health issues arising from domestic violence and substance abuse include:

The American Society of Addiction Medicine states 56 percent of women who are abused have mental health problems. These women are also vulnerable to drug and alcohol misuse. It is believed that domestic violence and substance abuse increases morbid obesity and severe eating disorders. 

Does Domestic Violence only affect Women?

No, women are not the only victims of domestic violence and substance abuse. Although it isn’t’ easy to identify domestic violence in men, it is a severe threat. Domestic violence and substance abuse also affect same-sex couples.

If you are gay, bisexual, or transgender, you may experience the following from your partner:

  • They tell you the authorities won’t help someone like you.
  • They say if you leave, it’s admitting that same-sex relationships are wrong.
  • Says they abuse you because your not really gay, bisexual, or transgender
  • States that men are naturally mean and violent

As a male victim of domestic violence and substance abuse, your partner may:

  • Belittle and verbally abuse and humiliate you in front of friends, family, and co-workers
  • Act jealous, be possessive, and accuse you of cheating
  • Control where you go and who you see by taking your keys
  • Manipulate and isolate you from friends and family
  • Make false accusations to police and employers.
  • Threaten to leave and take the kids away if you report the abuse

Men may find a lack of domestic violence resources. They also face a lack of understanding from others. But, domestic violence treatment can help overcome the challenges of domestic violence and substance abuse. 

What Options are Available for Addiction and Domestic Violence Treatment?

For both victims and abusers, misusing substances further increases the risk of domestic violence. For this reason, addiction and domestic violence treatment focus on recovery and safety. Because addiction often co-occurs with other mental health disorders, a comprehensive treatment plan can address all the issues. 

Attending a gender-specific program can be beneficial for victims of domestic violence. The multidisciplinary approach to domestic violence treatment addresses all aspects of domestic violence and substance abuse. 

  • Trauma therapy – Trauma therapy is essential for all victims of domestic violence. 
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – CBT helps identify and change negative thoughts and behaviors.
  • Family therapy – Family therapy involves each family member because domestic violence and substance abuse affect everyone. 
  • Holistic therapy – Therapies such as yoga, meditation, and reiki are beneficial in whole-person recovery. 

Although domestic violence treatment is available in inpatient and outpatient treatment settings, most victims feel safer in inpatient domestic violence treatment. Inpatient treatment provides 24/7 supervision and access to therapists and wellness coaches. This safe environment allows victims of domestic violence and substance abuse to focus on healing. 

Addiction and Domestic Violence Treatment at Sana Lake Recovery

If you or a loved one are domestic violence victims, it is vital to get help today. Your love for an abusive partner is less important than your safety. However, domestic violence treatment will help rebuild the you that domestic violence and substance abuse destroyed. Contact us today and find out how you can find freedom from domestic violence and substance abuse.

References:

https://ncadv.org/STATISTICS

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/domestic-violence-against-men/art-20045149

https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/fvs02.pdf

https://opdv.ny.gov/

Article Reviewed by David Sherman, MD

David Sherman, MDDavid Sherman, MD is a Fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (FASAM) and board certified in Addiction Medicine with the American Board of Preventive Medicine. He is a native Missourian and graduated medical school at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine. Dr. Sherman completed a two-year fellowship in Addiction Medicine at the University of Florida in Gainesville. He leads a highly trained staff of master level certified addiction professionals. Men and women from all over Missouri and the United States come to Sana Lake Recovery Center to get the care they need and deserve.