Unfortunately, it is common for domestic violence and addiction to go hand-in-hand. It is common for both men and women that engage in domestic violence to blame their actions on drugs or alcohol. When the abuser sobers up, they are often remorseful and claim they weren’t aware of what they were doing. For either the abuser or the victim, substance abuse can increase the risk of more violence. An addiction to drugs or alcohol leads to extremely intense and damaging mental and physical conditions for the abuser as well as the victim. The good news is that there is help available for the women and men that are violent or are the victims of domestic violence.
Substance abuse can diminish self-control and reduce inhibitions over their emotions, which may lead to domestic violence, often it’s because they are unable to cope with their inner turmoil. Alcohol and drug abuse may also make it extremely difficult for them to make good decisions about their behavior in the heat of the moment. This poor degree of self-control may easily lead to domestic violence on the part of the abuser. An addiction to drugs or alcohol alters nervous structures and chemicals in the brain; drug abuse changes personalities and changes priorities. For these reasons and many more, it is critical that they be treated for both their addiction and violent tendencies.
Are Substance Abusers More Like to Become a Domestic Violence Victim?
Studies have shown that substance abuse may increase the risk of women and men being victims of domestic abuse. Drugs and alcohol have a significant effect on your body and its various systems; substance abuse alters the thinking of the user. For instance, using alcohol creates negative effects on cognitive capabilities, which may result in those who are using to exercise poor judgment and place themselves at risk of being the victim of domestic violence. There is also evidence of a high probability that women and men who are victims of violence have substance abuse problems. Sadly, children of those who abuse drugs and alcohol are also often attacked during the abuse of a loved one. It is common for many of these children to become accustomed to these behaviors from childhood, resulting in them becoming abusers or victims of domestic violence in adulthood.
Treatment for Domestic Violence and Substance Abuse
Treatment for domestic violence and substance abuse should be integrated. Just like other co-occurring disorders, collaboration among healthcare professionals is essential in order to best address each individual condition. The trauma that is often caused by domestic violence victims generally requires different treatment options that the treatment methods for the abuser; however, when substance abuse is mixed into the factor, it is critical that the treatment methods be done at the same time for the best chances of recovery.
Because of the trauma and severity relating to domestic violence as well as the stigma that is often related to substance abuse, it is common for people to be discouraged about seeking treatment. Many people that experience domestic violence have gone through other traumas in their lives, such as sexual abuse, childhood neglect and other types of violence. For this reason, experiencing any type of discrimination can be extremely traumatic on its own, which limits their access to support and services. Since many victims of domestic violence turn to substance abuse in an attempt to deal with the trauma of the abuse, disclosing their alcohol and drug abuse to others is often the primary reason they delay seeking treatment. However, it is critical to understand that domestic violence generally results in physical and emotional injuries as well as other health problems if you do not seek help. Treatment can help you learn how to overcome being a victim of abuse, resist being the abuser and put your substance abuse behind you.