drugs and violence

Domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship to maintain power or control over the other person. Addiction is a disease in which you become dependent on a substance and are unable to function daily without it, despite the consequences. 

Domestic violence often goes hand in hand with addiction. Whether its psychological manipulation or physical abuse, domestic violence is highly dangerous and painful. These different forms of abuse are important to understand as we start to understand the link between domestic violence and addiction.

Recognizing the causes of domestic violence and how it links with addiction can save a life. Whether you’re the abuser or the victim, seeking treatment is crucial. No matter what point you’re at, it’s not too late to take a chance. Domestic violence, coupled with addiction, can have a fatal outcome if not addressed early on.

What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence also referred to as intimate partner violence, and domestic abuse consists of one or both parties physically and/or emotionally abusing each other in an unhealthy relationship. Mayo Clinic defines domestic abuse as “a pattern of coercive tactics used to gain and maintain power and control in an ongoing, familiar relationship.” This includes misconstrued balances of power, respect, control, and (wellbeing). 

The relationship becomes toxic and unsafe for one or both of the parties. The abuse can involve verbal, emotional, and physical coercion, destruction of property, hurting or killing pets, rape, and physical attacks. There are four main types of domestic abuse. 

These include:

  • Physical Violence
  • Sexual Violence
  • Stalking
  • Psychological Aggression

Domestic violence over an extended period results in long-lasting health problems, such as mental health disorders and eating disorders. Victims may also turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with the emotional toll of abuse. For some, substance abuse may lead to addiction. 

As stated by the American Society of Addiction Medicine, research has concluded that both victims and abusers are 11 times more likely to be involved in domestic violence disputes on days of heavy substance use. Most people that abuse a substance are not abusive toward their partners. However, a large number of people who abuse their partners also partake in substance abuse.

Characteristics of Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse and violence isn’t always easy to spot. Even when it seems obvious, you may have become immune to it. Understanding some of the characteristics of domestic abuse is crucial in putting an end to it. Below are a few of the many symptoms:

Physical Abuse 

Physical abuse can be identified by:

  • Scratching, biting, grabbing or spitting
  • Shoving and pushing
  • Slapping and punching
  • Throwing objects to hurt or intimidate you
  • Destroying possessions
  • Hurting or threatening to hurt your children and/or pets
  • Disrupting your sleeping patterns to make you feel exhausted
  • Burning
  • Strangling
  • Attacking or threatening to attack with a weapon
  • Any threats or actual attempts to kill you

Psychological/Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse can be spotted by noticing some of these signs:

  • Making demands or orders and expecting them to be fulfilled

Making all decisions, such as canceling another’s plans without asking

  • Continuously monitoring another person’s whereabouts
  • Gaslighting – denying facts or making the other feel as though they do not remember the situation correctly
  • Acting two-faced – this can include being charming in public but completely changing the minute no one else is around
  • Withholding affection; abusers may punish a person for “bad” behavior by withholding affection or making them feel they are undeserving of love

Domestic Violence and Emotional/Mental Disorders

Mental health disorders are a common consequence of domestic violence and abuse. There are many unsettling emotions one must cope through after being in an abusive relationship. 

These disorders and unpleasant emotions can include:

  • Low self-worth
  • Eroding self-confidence
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Suicidal ideation/attempts
  • Aggression
  • Insomnia
  • Career damage
  • Isolation
  • Changes in appearance
  • Significant weight changes

Victims of domestic violence and substance abuse can develop emotional and mental disorders at any time in response to the emotional damage caused by abuse. 

The Link Between Domestic Violence and Addiction

Domestic violence stems from a loss of control. This is partly why addiction plays such a large role in domestic violence. When under the influence of a substance, your judgment and perspective become impaired. This can consequently lead to a loss of control.

Addiction and substance abuse are significantly connected to domestic violence. Being under the influence of any substance significantly increases the chances of abusive behavior. Did you know that nearly 80% of domestic violence crimes are related to the use of drugs?

When a person abuses drugs, the chemicals in their brain are rewired to seek out the substance, regardless of any future consequences of their behavior. This can result in irrational, violent, or controlling behavior within a relationship. If both parties have substance abuse disorder, the risk of domestic violence increases. 

It is harder for the victim to understand how much danger they’re actually in. He or she will likely have a difficult time defending themselves against a partner’s attack or being able to seek help. This is a toxic pattern that can continue for sometimes years at a time. It’s crucial to understand the connection between domestic violence and addiction, so those who need help can seek it.

Treatment for Domestic Violence Victims

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration held a study that stated 25% of all women experience rape or physical assault of some kind throughout their lives. It is a common feeling for the victim to feel trapped. This may be because of financial dependency or fear of their partner physically hurting them. As a result, many of these victims suffer in silence and go on to develop substance abuse issues. The inability to properly cope with the trauma ends up negatively impacting them.

In some of the most severe cases, the abuser serves as a supplier of drugs or alcohol to the victim. Consequently, this creates an even more intense attachment. To make matters worse, children who experience domestic abuse are at a much greater risk for latent drug or alcohol addiction. That is why attending treatment is so important if you notice that an addiction has taken place.

The sooner you address the problem, the sooner you can begin working towards a happier and healthier life. If you’re a victim of domestic violence, we have a wealth of resources to aid you in treatment. At Coastal Detox, we offer many therapeutic services to target emotional trauma and co-occurring disorders. Domestic violence victims often lack the confidence and independence to leave their abusive situation. The goal of therapy is to help them gain the confidence and tools they need to lead healthy lives.

Treatment for Domestic Violence Abusers

Domestic violence can be a complex topic. When discussing domestic violence, it’s important to understand that current abusers are sometimes past victims. In no way does this justify becoming an abuser – However, it does mean that the abuser needs to receive proper treatment to work through unresolved issues. 

They must receive treatment to help them cope with their past abuse before any real work can begin. After addressing their past, the next step is usually a series of trauma therapies. It is important to work through each issue. These issues can include current anger issues as well as substance abuse.

The initial patient assessment is the first step when it comes to getting an honest and thorough understanding of the abuser’s history. Very often, shame and embarrassment keep patients from telling the full story about their abusive past. At Coastal Detox, a non-judgmental atmosphere is something we prioritize.

For the abuser to work through their past and grow into a person they’re proud of; honesty is key. Especially when it comes to substance abuse being a part of the picture as well. Addiction and domestic abuse are linked in more ways than one.

Recovering abusers are taught anger management techniques to help them avoid relapse. Their addiction will be properly treated throughout the program, along with any mental health concerns. Patients will apply the coping tools they learned in domestic violence and addiction treatment to sustain their recovery.

Domestic violence doesn’t have to control your life. There are brighter days ahead. At Coastal Detox, we strive to help our patients rebuild their lives and move forward as stronger people.

Start Your Recovery Journey Today 

For both the abuser and victim, domestic abuse cannot be swept under the rug. It must be properly addressed to prevent anyone from getting hurt. At Coastal Detox, we prioritize a high level of care to ensure each patient’s comfort and safety.

Some of our many services include individual therapy, group therapy, massages, gym membership, and much, much more. Our goal is to create a sober environment that you or a loved one can learn and thrive in. 

Our trained medical staff will care for you and provide the tools for a long-lasting sober life. With the right support and treatment, your entire life can take a turn for the better. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to give us a call. You can contact us here or call us at (844) 387-1286 to begin your recovery journey today. 

References

https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/

https://centerforfamilyjustice.org/

Content Reviewed by Jacklyn Steward

Jacklyn StewardJacklyn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and an EMDR trained trauma therapy specialist with over 6 years of experience in the field of addiction. She has a Masters Degree in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counseling from Nova Southeastern University.