Domestic Violence and Addiction

Domestic violence and addiction are closely linked, with these conditions worsening each other in terms of severity. In the following guide, you will learn more about how these conditions affect each other.

About Domestic Violence

Domestic violence refers to a pattern of abuse and other related harmful behavior in a relationship. An intimate partner will typically use it to gain as well as maintain control and power over their partner. When combined with substance abuse and addiction, this condition can escalate into dangerous and even fatal outcomes that the victim will have a difficult time getting away from.

That said, as the victim of domestic violence, it is highly likely that you may turn to drugs and alcohol. Research studies, for instance, report that women who have been violated and abused by their intimate partners have 15 times as high a likelihood of abusing alcohol and 9 times as high a likelihood of abusing drugs than those who have not been abused.

However, physical violence is not the only form of domestic violence. It can also encompass other types and forms of harm that is designed to ensure that the victim fears their partner while overpowering them. Some of the main forms and types of domestic violence include but are not limited to:

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

There are also some behaviors that comprise domestic violence, including:

  • Controlling the victim excessively
  • Discouraging or keeping the victim from spending time with their family members, friends, and loved ones
  • Ensuring that the victim is unable to make decisions on their own
  • Forcing or pressuring the victim to engage in actions and behavior that they are not interested in
  • Intimidating the victim
  • Shaming and embarrassing the victim with insults and put-downs
  • Telling the victim where they are allowed to go, who they are allowed to see, and what they are allowed to do
  • The partner dictating how their victim dresses or wears their hair
  • The partner telling their victim that it is impossible for them to do anything right
  • Threatening the victim

Domestic Violence and Addiction

Every form of domestic violence tends to originate from the desire of the intimate partner for power and control over their victim. Substance abuse and addiction have been increasingly linked to this type of violence in strong ways.

If you are inebriated from alcohol and drugs, it is highly likely that you will lose control over your inhibitions. In the same way, your chances of engaging in any form of abusive behavior will increase greatly when you are under the influence of intoxicating substances. It is for this reason that over 80 percent of all crimes of domestic violence are linked to drug and alcohol abuse.

When you abuse intoxicating substances, they will rewire the chemicals in your brain such that you will start seeking out these drugs - irrespective of any future consequences on your behavior. As a result, this could lead to controlling, violent, and irrational behavior when you get into a relationship.

That said, there are some characteristics in common between domestic violence and addiction. They include but are not limited to:

  • A general loss of control
  • Abuse and addiction will both worsen over time
  • Both of these conditions tend to involve feelings of shame and denial
  • Continuing the behavior in spite of the negative consequences that follow

The important thing to keep in mind is that the risk of domestic violence will increase if both parties to the violence have an addiction involving drugs or alcohol. While under the influence of these substances, it might be difficult for the victim to determine the amount of danger that they are in. Additionally, they will most likely not be able to defend themselves against an attack from their partner - or even call for help when it is needed.

That said, it is important to note that domestic violence often escalates into a vicious cycle. This is because the victim might not want to report the problem or the attack because they may fear that the partner will retaliate financially, emotionally, or physically.

However, if you leave this problem untreated, it can continue perpetuating an unhealthy and even harmful dynamic within the relationship. In the long term, it could even lead to severe consequences.

Effects of Domestic Violence and Addiction

Domestic violence and addiction both have far-reaching effects. As the victim of violence, it is highly likely that you may end up struggling with a variety of mental health issues and disorders. The only way you will be able to overcome the trauma resulting from such abuse would be through inpatient treatment.

Examples of the problems that develop as a result of domestic violence include but are not limited to:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Substance abuse and/or addiction

Getting Help

The key to freedom from your destructive relationship patterns and long term sobriety is through treatment that addresses both the issues of domestic violence as well as the substance abuse and addiction. Luckily, there are many treatment centers and programs that are available today and they can help you overcome these problems - whether you are the victim or the abuser. These programs will also be able to help you improve the quality of your life.

It might also be useful to include anger management classes during the rehabilitation and learning process. Through counseling sessions with trained and licensed therapists, the couple - or the abuser or the victim on their own - can address the issues linked to control while also trying to uncover and remedy the causes of the violence.

It is recommended that you seek help if you have been struggling with either domestic violence or addiction or a combination of both before it is too late and there is nothing you can do to correct these issues.

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