Domestic Violence and its role in Substance Abuse

Domestic Violence and its role in Substance Abuse

It is a sobering statistic that nearly one fourth of all women are physically abused or sexually assaulted at some point in their lives. Any traumatic incident will leave a mark, but the effects of such trauma may not appear right away and can take a long time to surface. Trauma, violence and abuse can lead to substance abuse, depression, panic disorder, and PTSD.

Does Substance Abuse Cause Domestic Violence?

Substance abuse does not cause domestic violence. However, according to experts there is a statistical correlation between the two. Studies have found that where there is domestic violence, there is usually also frequent high incidence of alcohol and drug abuse. There is also the probability that victims of domestic abuse will turn to drugs and alcohol to cope. Some facts on domestic violence and substance abuse are:

Regular alcohol abuse is a leading risk factor for partner violence

Women who struggle with alcoholism are more likely to have suffered physical and emotional abuse in their childhood, than women who don’t have an alcohol problem

Women who have experienced abuse are 15 times more like to abuse alcohol and 9 times more likely to abuse drugs than women who have never experienced abuse

Treatment for alcoholism doesn’t cure abusive behavior

Victims of Domestic Violence and Substance Abuse

Mostly the victims of domestic violence are women, as men tend to be the batterers. Such men abuse alcohol or drugs and often even use that as an excuse for their violent behavior. This way they avoid taking responsibility for their actions. Battered women on the other hand feel like they’re living in a war zone. They never know what might set their spouse or partner off and trigger a violent episode. Sometimes they can see the signs but not always. And even knowing the signs doesn’t mean that they can stop it.

Victims of domestic violence are usually too afraid to let anyone outside the house know the reality because they are terrified that if their abuser finds out, they will be hurt even worse.

The batterers often exhibit profound remorse over what they have done and promise over and over that it won’t happen again. They blame the drugs and alcohol. But the fact is that domestic violence doesn’t just go away. Nor does it stop if the batterer stops using substances.

Treatment for Victims of Domestic Abuse

Women who enter treatment for substance abuse and have a history of experience with domestic violence need a comprehensive treatment program. Her safety is paramount, whether she is an inpatient or receiving treatment on an outpatient basis. Confidentiality is key.

It is also important that the woman is believed and validated by the program staff. This will assure her that she is in a safe place and empower her to participate in immediate problem solving and long term planning.

Finally, the staff need to help her identify her options, share information to come up with other available options, explore risks and support her in developing a safety plan. All this needs to be done in conjunction with treating the woman for substance abuse, including detox, managing withdrawal symptoms and therapy.

Blueprints provides support for young adults facing addiction recovery. Our staff and programs support individualized programs to help resolve addictive behaviors and get individuals on the path to recovery and healing. Call us today on 877-594-4901.


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