What To Do When Substance Abuse Leads To Violence

Domestic violence

 Substance Abuse and Domestic Violence Are Closely Linked

Many studies have shown that there is a relationship between substance abuse and domestic violence. However, one can precede the other or they can occur simultaneously. It is a strange correlation because repeated incidents of domestic abuse can also lead to the victim going towards substance abuse to cope with the pain and shame of domestic violence. The main point here is that the perpetrator of domestic violence wants to control or dominate their partner in some way. 

What is Substance Abuse

Substance abuse can be defined as the habit of using drugs or alcohol, or a combination of both of these, till it leads to an addiction. In this case, the individual cannot stop his dependency on these substances regardless of the harm inflicted on themselves or others. 

What Is Domestic Violence

Domestic violence refers to instances in the household that result in intentionally inflicting physical, emotional, psychological or sexual abuse on an intimate partner or family member. While the causes can vary, drug and alcohol abuse are behind almost 80% of domestic violence related crimes.

How Substance Abuse Can Lead to Domestic Violence

Where there is violence in the home, offenders often use alcohol or drug use as an excuse to physically or mentally abuse their partner. But behind all this is a desire to dominate or control their victim. 

The issue usually starts when one partner has a drinking or drug problem. This can be brought on by financial problems or legal issues that they find difficult to handle. They begin neglecting their responsibilities. This state of affairs can ultimately lead to fights with their partner. After these incidents, they might turn to alcohol or drugs to cope with the stress.  This then becomes a vicious cycle.

Domestic Violence Statistics 

As time goes on, the incidents of substance abuse and domestic violence might get worse. Statistics indicate that as many as 10 million people are affected by domestic violence every year. Domestic violence is present in every community regardless of age, gender, race, nationality or socio-economic status.  Every day, an average of 19,000 people call in to domestic violence hotlines across the US. Domestic violence has a significant impact on its victims. This can include physical injury and psychological trauma. 

Such abuse not only includes the victim but can also have a traumatic effect on children who are part of or witness these events. Although both men and women can be perpetrators of domestic violence, the majority of abusers are men, with the majority of victims being women. 

According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, substance abuse occurs in 40 to 60% of cases of domestic violence. Substance abuse can facilitate domestic violence by leading to it or making it worse. While it is seen that the effects of substance abuse and domestic violence are interrelated, one can lead to another and vice versa. 

It has been noted that when both parties have a substance abuse problem, the chance of domestic violence goes up. There is also a link between domestic health issues and mental health problems like depression, general anxiety disorder, post traumatic disorders and the inclination to commit suicide.

According to the statistics of the US Bureau of Justice, 85% of intimate partner violence victims are women. Abuse can also cause behavioral changes in victims. For instance, somebody who was once cheerful and outgoing might become distant and reserved. They might avoid social situations altogether, and feel at ease with the abuser, while hesitant in the company of others. They might be anxious to please their partner. Victims can also feel bound and unable to get out of the relationship. 

Get Help For Domestic Violence Today

We have looked at the connection between substance abuse and domestic violence. Although drugs and alcohol can affect a person’s judgment and behavior, using them does not excuse violence or abuse. There are many options for treating substance abuse disorder, like medications, addiction treatments, support groups and psychotherapy.

Resources To Explore

Domestic Violence hotline 800-799-7233

ROR Resources Page

Family Violence Resources

When The Men Are Abused

Why Women Stay In Abusive Relationships

Substance Abuse And Sex Crimes