Alcoholism and Domestic Violence

Last Updated: 20 Jun 2022
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Alcoholism, also known as alcohol dependence, is unfortunately a widespread ailment which ps people of all age groups and socioeconomic levels. The health risks of this disease, and alcoholism is a disease, are as widespread as the individuals who contract it. In addition to these health risks, alcoholism is also an influencing factor in another problem plaguing societies, domestic violence. Thus, alcohol and anger create a sometimes fatal combination.

Alcoholism is a disease which can be described by degree. Alcohol dependence describes individuals who have developed a “maladaptive pattern” of alcohol consumption which is characterized by a developing alcohol tolerance, withdrawal symptoms, or hangovers, and the inability to stop drinking. It doesn’t stop there People with alcohol dependence may progress to alcohol abuse which can significantly interfere with their social lives, their work or their interpersonal relationships.

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In addition, this abuse can also cause a host of related issues including “major depression, dysthymia, mania, hypomania, panic disorder, phobias, generalized anxiety disorder, personality disorders, any drug use disorder,schizophrenia, and suicide” (Cargiulo 2007). According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), drinking up to 14 drinks in a week for men or seven drinks per week as a woman could indicate alcohol dependence. In addition, the NIAAA estimates that up to nearly 18 million Americans could be considered alcoholics (Lauer 2006).

Despite the many mental and physiological problems that are associated with alcoholism, some of the most frightening are the health problems associated with the brain. Evidence exists that shows the damage that alcohol consumption does to the brain. Brain imaging studies have revealed that people with alcoholism have significant differences in parts of their brains than those without alcoholism. The brain volume is reduced in alcoholics as well as the blood flow to the brain.

The reduced blood flow has been linked to a lowering of inhibitions and memory, impaired cognitive function in general and even damage to the corpus callosum (Cargiulo 2007). These problems can lead to long term brain damage. Lesions in the brain form in those with long term patterns of alcohol abuse. This can translate into Korsakoff’s disease which is characterized by motor impairment and thinking impairments which can affect a person’s ability to care for himself. In the end, the individual may have to be cared for institutionally.

Alcohol affects the neurotransmitters in the brain. As the disease progresses to chronic status, the brain cells begin to adapt to the alcohol that seems to reside permanently in the brain. As a result, the brain becomes reliant on the alcohol to work. If alcohol is removed, the symptoms of withdrawal take longer and longer to subside. Ultimately, the brain tissue will rebel, in a way, and the withdrawal symptoms can be severe, even fatal. Once the cells in the brain die, they cannot be regenerated (Shoemaker 2003). These effects seem to affect males to a greater degree than females.

This fact can be explained by differences in drinking patters, choice of alcoholic drinks, rate of alcohol metabolism and the protective effects of hormones such as estrogen (de Bruin, 2005) As such, alcohol dependency and abuse is three times more prominent in men as it is in women even though evidence suggests that for both genders, the numbers are underreported (Cargiulo 2007). As if the physical effects on the body were not bad enough, the behaviors of individuals who are addicted to alcohol are also quite dangerous.

The drinkers find themselves to be less inhibited and more willing to engage in risky behaviors. Many of these behaviors can be characterized as aggressive and violent. One of the worst that researchers find among alcoholics is domestic violence or intimate partner violence (IPV). The Academy of Domestic Violence has defined domestic violence as “a deliberate pattern of abusive tactics used by one partner in an intimate relationship to obtain and maintain power and control over the other person” which includes physical, sexual, psychological, emotional and economic abuses (Niolon 2004)

The types of domestic violence have been organized by Dr. Richard Niolon (2004). He identifies one type as common couple violence which occurs in one or two isolated incidences over the course of the couples’ relationship. Though painful at the time, this type is not usually seen as a recurring pattern of abuse and control. The second type is identified by Niolon (2004) as intimate terrorism in which violence is used as a means of manipulation and control relatively regularly.

Mutual violent control occurs more often when both the male and the female fight each other, and dysphoric-borderline violence is indicative of a dependent, emotional fragile individual who resorts to violence as a last resort. This type of violence often occurs when the abused person in the relationship snaps and lashes out violently against the other partner or when a new set of circumstances radically increases the frustration levels of one of the partners in the relationship, and he or she lashes out as a result of this new situation (Niolon 2004).

These stages of violence typically follow a predictable cycle. The first stage of this cycle is a calm period in which tension slowly builds. Minor incidents may occur in this stage which can continue for various periods of time. The second stage is the one in which the abuser seems to explode and actually engage in the violence. Outside parties may have to intervene to stop the onslaught. The third states is called the honeymoon stage because the abuser will show distinct remorse for his actions, apologize profusely, and even shower the abused with gifts and affection, even promises.

Unfortunately, the abused is likely to forgive the abuser at this point. (Niolon 2004). Risk factors for IPV include lower educational levels, lower income and/or employment levels, and, of course, alcohol misuse (Jeyaseelan, 2004). Sadly, alcohol and IPV often do go hand in hand. Not surprising, the most common locations for IPV to occur is in the home and at bars. According to interviews with abused wives, men were much more likely to have been drinking during the attacks than not.

When the abusive husbands were interviewed, they reported to have had at least six drinks before the onset of the violence (Quigley and Leonard, 2004/2005). Thus the concurrence of alcoholism and IPV is shown. When drinking, a dangerous combination of increased aggression and reduced inhibition lead to these batterings. Many studies support this problem, which again seems to afflict more men than women. Quigley and Leonard (2004/2005) recount a study by Kaufman, Kantor and Straus in 1990 which found that the husbands heavy drinking was associated with husband on wife violence.

Further studies show that a husband who drinks early in marriage is more prone to IPV later in marriage, and husbands who drink heavily before marriage are more likely to be violent toward their wives in the very first year of marriage (Quigley and Leonard, 2004/2005). In addition, these authors cite Caetano in noting that there are racial differences involved in IPC. They note that “nineteen percent of European American husbands and 24 percent of Hipic husbands who drank at least five drinks a week committed IPV, as opposed to 40 percent of African American husbands who drank” (Quigley and Leonard, 2004/2005).

This has harrowing implications for women of all races, particularly African American women. Galvani (2004) gives several possible reasons why this may be true. Physiological theories argue that ethanol, the drug in alcohol increase aggression biologically. A theory known as Disinhibition Theory notes the earlier link between alcohol and cognitive function, specifically the portion of the brain mentioned above that regulates levels if inhibition. The Deviance Disavowal theory argues that the abusers use alcohol as a reason for their behavior and consciously drinks so that they can blame the alcohol for their actions.

Social Learning theories explain that people will act in a way based on their experiences around others. Therefore, parents and societal expectations can lead to alcoholic abuse and abusive behaviors (Galvani, 2004). Both alcoholism and IPV are scourges upon society, creating physical and mental damage. When these are combined, their effects are even stronger and more widespread. With hope, individuals who find themselves in these situations will soon seek help to avoid permanent tragedy. References Cargiulo, T. (2007).

Understanding the health impact of alcohol dependence. American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy 64: S1-S17 De Bruin, EA. (2005) Does alcohol intake relate to brain volume loss? The Brown University Digest of Addiction Theory & Application 24 (7): 5-6 Galvani, S. (2004). Responsible disinhibition: Alcohol, men and violence to women. Addiction Research & Theory 12 (4): 357-371 Jeyaseelan, L et al. (2004). World studies of abuse in the family environment - risk factors for physical intimate partner violence.

Injury Control & Safety Promotion 11 (2): 117-124. Lauer, CS. (2006). When drinking turns serious. Modern Healthcare 36 (16): 22 Niolan, R. (2004). Types and Cycles of Domestic Violence. Retrieved 1 May 207 from http://www. psychpage. com/learning/index. html Quigley, BM & Leonard, KE. (2004/2005). Alcohol Use and Violence Among Young Adults. Alcohol Research & Health 28 (4): 191-194 Shoemaker, W. (2003). Alcohol’s Effects on the Brain. Nutritional Health Review: The Consumer’s Medical Journal 88: 3-8 .

A Case Study on Domestic Violence Against Women

By default, women are on the same level as men—point for point, ability and talent, capacity and potential. However, the physical qualities of women often put them on a lower rung, owing to biological factors such as reproduction that make women’s bodies relatively smaller and less strong. This gap is where the concept of domestic violence operates, particularly the act committed by a man against his female partner.

Many women are known to be partial to keeping domestic violence a secret, because they are usually of low self-image and are under constant depression. A battered woman is the result of domestic violence, which happens when an individual in a marriage or intimate relationship attempts to control and dominate the other (Davies, et al, 2007). On the outset, there are no perceived differences between a regular woman, and one who is a victim of domestic violence; both, specially those who engage in various social circles, always put their best foot forward, as a rule.

However, the “healthy” woman remains to be a productive, functioning member of the society where she belongs, in full control of her capabilities; while the “battered” woman exhibits signs of lack of emotional control, eating disorders, and symptoms of alcohol abuse. A woman undergoing domestic violence becomes a battered woman through an escalation of three different stages: tension-building, explosion, and calm. The cycle of abuse and battery coincides with the woman’s psyche, since the last phase, also known as the honeymoon stage, positively reinforces whatever concerns she may have against her partner (Rubenstein, 2004).

Hence, a specific term was coined to refer to the pattern of symptomatic behavioral and psychological qualities apparent in women part of violent relationships. Commonly, four characteristics define what is known as the “battered woman’s syndrome”: She believes she caused the violence to happen. She is incapable of crediting the violence committed to someone other than herself. She often fears for her and her children’s lives and safety. She believes that her abuser can do and see anything and everything (Walker, 1984). II. Shelters for Battered Women

Following the confirmation of conditions defining domestic violence and battery, women victims may seek protection in numerous battered women’s shelters across the United States. All of them are equipped with 24-hour hotlines, and commit to confidentiality. Three requirements are to be adhered to: (1) the woman must be ready and willing to leave her home to protect herself and her children from more abuse, (2) the woman should strictly follow the shelter’s confidentiality rules to ensure the safety of other resident, and (3) the woman does not require a restraining order to be accepted in the shelter (CRII, 2001-2008).

III. National Coalition Against Domestic Violence Collectively, the NCADV aims to promote goals and mindsets in persons and communities who believe in ending cycles of violence and abuse. It declares that violence against women comes from the ambition to maintain control as well as abuse of power, and its mission is to implement rules that will ensure change to eliminate causes of violence and battery.

The NCADV is made up of people who genuinely care about the plight of battered women and their families in the city and countryside, regardless of ethnicity, socio-economic class, or religion. Today, the NCADV is responsible for over 2,000 shelters for women and service programs (NCADV, 2005). References Rubenstein, Lori S. (2004). “Battered Woman’s Syndrome”. Divorce Net. website, accessed on 18 August 2008 at http://www. divorcenet. com/states/oregon/or_art02 Davies, Pat, et al. (2007). “Domestic Violence and Abuse”. Helpguide. org website,

accessed on 18 August 2008 at http://www. helpguide. org/mental/domestic_violence_abuse_types_signs_causes_effects. htm National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (2005). “Mission Statement and Purpose”. NCADV website, accessed on 18 August 2008 at http://www. ncadv. org/aboutus. php Community Resources Information, Inc. (2001-2008). “What are shelters for battered women? ” CRII website, accessed on 18 August 2008 at http://www. massresources. org/pages. cfm? ContentID=23&pageID=2&Subpages='yes'&SecondLevelDynamicID=761&DynamicID=469

Domestic Violence Is Mainly Caused by Poverty

Domestic violence is widely interpreted as a form of disparaging actions carried out by either one or both parties in a relationship such as marriage, siblings, friends or any people who essentially live together. Some forms of domestic violence include domestic abuse, spousal abuse, child abuse and intimate partner violence (IPV). They who tend to be hostile by being physically aggressive, sexually or mentally abusive, intimidating or neglecting, etc. towards the other party are the one carrying out domestic violence (Wikipedia).

Although this matter may not have enacted a crime but this matter is on its increase and has given nuisance to many that are involved. Domestic violence is found all throughout the world no matter what the country, race or class. I disagree with the fact that domestic violence is mainly caused by poverty because there have been cases of domestic violence found in the upper class as well. Although domestic violence does occur in poor households; other reasons that domestic violence occurs include drug and alcohol abuse, a household filled with self-esteem issues and the absence of God.

Alcohol and drug abuse is another reason why domestic violence exists in our world (All About Life Challenges n. d. ). The most prominent form of domestic violence is male-to-female violence. This can be either husband to wife, husband to children or husband to other members of the family living under the same roof. Alcohol and drug abuse definitely adds another dimension to this violence. Heavy alcohol use makes users rowdy and willing to wreak havoc even without a valid reason.

Alcohol has always been a root cause of many problems mainly because of the fact that it leads to out-of-control behaviour. A person is very different from himself when he is under the heavy influence of alcohol. Fathers who drink liquor every night are much more prone to domestic violence than a father who is not an alcoholic. Drugs such as crack, cocaine and methamphetamine make users aggressive and also cause dependence. People high on crack think that they can do anything and heavy users start experiencing paranoia (Drug Intelligence Centre n. . ). This paranoia causes the user to make a problem out of nothing and the aggressiveness of the drug initiates the violence. Drugs and alcohol do contribute heavily to domestic violence but another very big reason is self-esteem issues. A lot of domestic violence issues always have something to do with self-esteem issues. A child growing up in an environment where he is regularly beaten and put down will have psychological problems when he/she grows up. The hidden burning anger of that child will stay inside him until he grows up.

When that child, who is now a man, has a family of his own it is very likely that he will take out all his childhood frustrations on his family. This might be caused by stress or even the willingness to show power and control (All About Life Challenges n. d. ). Sometimes a family will experience domestic violence because the violator feels the need to show that he is the boss of the house. The father who has been battling self-esteem issues all his life regularly violates his family to convince himself that he is the boss of the house.

This might be because that person has never been in a position of power all his life and has been regularly put down by society. This person will most likely have difficulty coping with stress, be unwilling to take responsibility of his own actions and experience extreme jealousy and possessiveness among other alcohol/tobacco/drug problems (Domestic Violence). People who believe in God tend to stay away from evil thoughts and doings. Domestic violence is mostly taking place in homes that are without God’s guidance. Most religions around the globe are against any type of violence.

The Bible, for example, encourages its followers to be at peace with all mankind (All About Life Challenges n. d. ). Homes where domestic violence occurs have very little or no faith in God. Islam is known as one of the most peaceful religions in the world. The Quran, which is the holy book of Muslims, preaches that conflicts should be solved using communication rather than violent actions. Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism and many more religions follow the same code of ethics. When child abuse occurs there is obviously an absence of religion in the home.

For the counter argument, domestic violence does occur in homes rued with financial crises. According to a recent survey, domestic violence has been more prevalent in low-income families compared to middle and upper class families. Experts state that there tend to be more abuse cases in poor families that are reported to ER staff, police and social services. Violators from the lower class are more likely to be apprehended by the authorities because they do not have the power or influence which is prevalent in the upper class families (Domestic Violence Tips).

To conclude this essay I would like to state that domestic violence does occur in areas affected by poverty, but that is not the only factor which contributes to this violence. Domestic violence is prevalent in families that are ridden with alcohol and drug abuse problems. As stated before an alcoholic father will beat his children for matters which do not require punishment. A family which has a history of self-esteem issues is also extremely prone to domestic abuse because they tend to feel inferior among the other members of the family whether in economic, education or status prospect.

Children who grew up in a family or community with history of abuse may think that violence is a reasonable way to solve conflicts between people. The other reason why domestic violence is on a rise is because of the absence of God in certain households. A household which follows the religion of choice will abstain from violent behaviour of any kind. Domestic violence is a crime which is on the rise especially in developing countries. One way to reduce these crimes is to educate the youth. Hopefully in the next few years domestic violence will be a thing of the past.

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Alcoholism and Domestic Violence. (2016, Jul 03). Retrieved from

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