The Link Between Substance Abuse and Domestic Violence

The link between substance abuse and domestic violence has been proven to be related. Roughly 1 in 7 men and 1 in 5 women have been domestic violence victims from intimate partners during their lifetime. In a majority of these cases, substance addiction has played a part in abusive behavior.

Usually, this opens the gates to substance addiction, verbal abuse, and violent actions. This article will explore the link between these two disorders and the steps victims can take to find help for substance abuse treatment. 

Substance Abuse and Domestic Violence

What Is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is a tragically common occurrence across the globe. This is usually an unhealthy relationship where one or both partners are emotionally or physically abuse the other.

These actions are displayed in various ways. It may include a lack of respect, power imbalances, and lack of empathy. Domestic violence is such a vital circumstance that it is the most leading cause of injury to women in the U.S. However, domestic victims are not always women. Domestic violence victims can also be men, children, parents, animals, and even the elderly.

Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive conduct in a relationship caused by an intimate partner to gain or establish command and authority. Domestic violence is linked with substance addiction; it can quickly intensify into a dangerous circumstance that becomes difficult to leave.

For some people, the pain that derives from being a domestic violence victim could trigger substance addiction. Women who have been victims of domestic violence are nine times more prone to drug abuse and 15 times more prone to suffer from alcohol addiction.

Different forms of domestic abuse include:

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

Behavioral examples of domestic abuse include:

  • Controlling the victim by dictating what they can do
  • Dictating how the victim wears their hair or dresses
  • Discouraging the victim from seeking friends or family 
  • Embarrassing the victim with insults
  • Frightening the victim
  • Pressuring the victim to do things they don’t want to
  • Stopping the victim from making their own choices
  • Telling the victim, they’re unable to do anything right
  • Threatening the victim

Addiction Causes Domestic Violence

Researchers had found that 61% of domestic violence offenders also were diagnosed with substance addiction. They also found that over 50% of spousal homicide incidents involved alcohol or drug abuse the day of the crime.

Studies had also found that 92% of domestic violence offenders were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In more than 50% of all domestic violence incidents, offenders had used drugs or alcohol daily for the prior month before the experience.

The statistical relationship between substance abuse and domestic violence is clear and well-documented. Chronic substance abuse is one of the most distinguished major risk factors of domestic violence. Substance addiction can also lead to more severe cases of domestic violence.

All sorts of domestic violence originate from one partner’s desire for control and power over the other. Substance addiction is often linked to domestic violence because usually, when someone becomes intoxicated, their inhibitions become lowered. Being intoxicated from drugs or alcohol dramatically enhances the probabilities of abusive behavior.

Nearly 80% of domestic abuse offenses are linked with alcohol and drug addiction. When someone starts heavily using drugs or alcohol, their brain’s chemicals become rewired to prioritize drug-seeking behavior, despite the negative consequences. This can create irrational, violent, or controlling behavior within a domestic relationship.

Addiction and domestic violence have several characteristics, which include:

  • Substance abuse and domestic violence worsening over time.
  • Both conditions involve denial or shame.
  • The domestic abuse continues despite adverse consequences.
  • There is a loss of control.

Substance addiction heightens the risk of domestic violence when both lovers are abusing substances. It becomes problematic when the victim is under the influence of drugs or alcohol and they don’t realize they’re in danger. The victim usually has a tough time defending themselves against their partner’s attack or reaching out for help, so they just wait for it to be over.

Domestic abuse is a cruel cycle, as the victim could be unwilling to report the abuse due to fear that the partner will physically, emotionally, or financially seek revenge. Unreported or untreated domestic abuse will continue to immortalize a toxic strain in the relationship that could cause severe or even deadly consequences.

Effects of Substance Abuse and Domestic Violence

Recent studies have shown that domestic violence victims cannot recognize the red flags of violent behavior because of their addiction. More alarming is that victims of domestic violence who suffer from addiction are afraid of repeated violence. Usually, this fear leads them to gain the courage to leave the abusive relationship, resulting in the victim being tracked down and possibly killed.

Domestic violence victims are more likely to develop unhealthy behaviors that will cause substance abuse. These patterns include emotional and mental health disorders, which include:

The effects of domestic violence and substance addiction are far-reaching. Domestic violence victims become more likely to struggle with multiple mental health disorders and require substance addiction treatment and therapy to overcome the trauma.

Addiction Includes More Than Drugs and Alcohol

Currently, across the nation, there is a widespread opioid epidemic. Many people use opioids to manage pain without knowing that opioids are highly addictive drugs that lead to opioid addiction. People could associate substance addiction and domestic violence with illicit drugs, but prescription drugs are also linked to violent behaviors. 

Opioids and amphetamines are drugs that are commonly prescribed and linked to domestic violence. But other considered safe prescription medications have also been connected to domestic violence.

For example, people taking antidepressants like Prozac have been associated with 10.9 times higher domestic violence likelihood. Chantix is a prescription drug for those who want to quit smoking cigarettes and is also connected with roughly 20 times an increase in domestic violence behavior.

Addiction Isn’t The Only Cause of Domestic Violence

While substance addiction is commonly linked to domestic violence cases, experts believe it’s not the only domestic abuse cause. Substance abuse treatment will be necessary for getting help for the addiction, but it won’t help the underlying causes of violent tendencies.

Many offenders were either a victim or had witnessed domestic abuse during their childhood. This makes people more likely to suffer from substance addiction, which plays a vital part in reviving dormant tendencies.

Likewise, many domestic violence victims often turn to substances as a way to cope with those feelings. This creates a dangerous series of substance and physical abuse that carries from generation to generation.

Symptoms of substance abuse usually don’t appear immediately. Many victims of domestic violence cope silently by self-medicating with drugs and alcohol. Ultimately, both the victim and the offender should seek substance abuse treatment and therapy.

Domestic violence offenders must be treated for co-occurring disorders to cover addiction and other issues like anger management simultaneously. This is referred to as dual diagnosis, a form of therapy that tackles addiction and domestic violence, allowing offenders to get treated. 

Signs of Substance Abuse and Domestic Violence

Someone who cares for a domestic violence offender has the best chance of identifying signs of substance addiction and domestic violence. Both the victim and the offender will hide substance abuse and domestic violence. Many domestic violence victims are hesitant to discuss the situation with others. They fear the consequences of their partner, possibly causing more violence against them.

Signs of substance abuse and domestic violence include:

  • Bearing unsuitable clothing 
  • Continuously confirming acceptance of their partner
  • Explanations for wounds
  • Lacking or borrowing money constantly
  • Missing out on work, school, or social events
  • Sudden changes in behavior

These signs are indicative of substance abuse and domestic violence. If you’ve noticed any of these signs within someone, it is imperative to get them help right away.

Substance Abuse and Domestic Violence Treatment

There are many features to learn when identifying the link between substance abuse and domestic violence. But once these signs are recognized or acknowledged, the next step if both people involved receive treatment. 

detox program followed by substance abuse treatment and counseling is a crucial first step, with both the offender and the victim seeking emotional abuse therapy. It is vital to get help for these co-occurring mental health disorders and drug, alcohol, and domestic violence treatment.

The dual diagnosis counselor may be required to examine the origins of the patient’s drug-seeking behavior and help them cope with their cravings and triggers. Completing an addiction treatment program that deals with both issues simultaneously is the only way to eradicate the vicious cycle of substance addiction and domestic violence.

The key to a sober lifestyle and freedom from a toxic relationship is to receive substance abuse and domestic violence treatment. There are treatment centers available, like Phoenix Rising, that can help both people affected with a comprehensive treatment plan specified for each patient. 

Phoenix Rising Can Help 

If you or a loved one were the victims of substance abuse and domestic violence, safety must be prioritized over the addiction and the perpetrator. Treatment programs can help patients recover and help them move forward with their lives and help find safety and healing. 

Here at Phoenix Rising, we can help you begin the journey to a lifestyle of sobriety and recovery. We use a personalized approach to substance abuse and domestic violence treatment. Our focus is on treating both conditions at the core while keeping our patients informed each step of the way.

No matter what the situation is, our team at Phoenix Rising can help. Contact us today and allow our team to give you the answers needed to break the cycle.