Domestic Violence and Substance Abuse

Last Updated: 02 Aug 2020
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The topic I chose for this project was the link between domestic violence and substance abuse. From the research that I did, there is a definite link between domestic abuse and substance abuse. According to the National Coalition against domestic violence, "Regular alcohol abuse is one of the leading factors for intimate partner violence. " Approximately 61% of domestic violence offenders also have substance abuse problems. Domestic violence is the use of intentional emotional, psychological, sexual, or physical force by one family member or partner to control another.

These acts can include, verbal abuse, threats, physical abuse, sexual abuse, destroying the victim's possessions, slapping, punching, kicking, burning, stabbing, shooting, or killing the victim's. A woman is beaten every 15 SECONDS in the United States, 30% of female trauma patients have been the victim of domestic violence. The medical costs for women who have been injured by their partners total to more than 44 million annually. Researchers have found that one-fourth to one half of men who commit acts of domestic violence also have substance abuse issues.

A study conducted by the "Department of Justice" of murders in families found that more than one half of defendants accused of murdering their spouses, as well as almost half of the victim's, had been drinking alcohol at the time of the incident. Alcohol and drugs may be used to cope with the physical, emotional, and/or psychological pain of family violence. "Regular alcohol abuse is one of the leading factors for intimate partner violence, also men who batter frequently use alcohol abuse as an excuse for their violence.

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They attempt to rid themselves of responsibility for their violence by blaming it on the effects of alcohol. " (NCADV) The effects on children of substance abusing parents is also great, "Children of substance abusing parents are more likely to experience physical, sexual, or emotional abuse than children in non-substance abusing households" (NCADV) In fact 80% of child abuse cases are linked with the use of alcohol and other drugs. These children are also at a greater risk of not only developing domestic violence issues of their own, but also substance abuse issues. An estimated 3 million children witness acts of violence against their mothers every year, and many believe that violent behavior is an acceptable way to express anger, frustration, or a will to control. " (Recovery Network) Common myths about domestic violence are as follows: domestic violence is caused by substance abuse, this is not true, domestic violence and substance abuse are two separate problems and must be treated separately.

Two, substance abusers cannot control their violent behavior, contrary to that belief, it had been proven that batterers know how to hide the violence they inflict, even under the influence of alcohol or drugs. And three, treating the substance abuse issues will end the domestic violence, this is also a myth because there is no guarantee that successful treatment for substance abuse will stop the domestic violence. The evidence between the link in domestic violence and substance abuse is great.

In fact, "About 40% of children from violent homes believe that their fathers had a drinking problem and that they were more abusive when drinking. " (Recovery Network) Also, when a child is subjected to physical abuse, they are more like to develop drug abuse later in life. Another interesting fact is that "teachers have reported a need for protective services three times more often for children who are being raised by someone with an addiction than for other children" (Recovery Network)

Other connections I learned about while doing my research are that many times alcohol and other drug abuse may be used to cope with the physical. Emotional, and/or psychological pain of family violence. Often times the behavior is learned, because we learn in our families and social groups that certain events or behaviors are connected and expected. Denial often is a major factor in domestic violence too, because an abusive individual excuses their violent behavior and, are often excused by their partners and other family members because they were drunk and "not in control. Also, "Research supports the connection between substance abuse and domestic violence. Members of families in which one or both parents abuse substances are considered to be at high risk for physically abusing and neglecting their children. " (Recovery Network) The National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse found that as many as 80% of child abuse cases are associated with the use of alcohol and other drugs, and the link between child abuse and others forms of domestic violence is well established.

As far as treatment, the treatment for domestic violence and substance abuse needs to be approached separately. Because, in most cases substance abuse treatment does not address the anger management problems that are associated with domestic violence. "Effective treatment for domestic violence offenders includes cognitive therapy, which helps the offender develop alternate ways of reacting to anger, and skill development, which helps the offender learn how to establish loving relationships that are free from violence. (Sober living by the sea) I learned a lot from doing this paper. As a woman who has been through domestic violence myself, it was intriguing to learn about the links between domestic violence and substance abuse. When I was married to my ex-husband, we both did marijuana, he had a lot of mood swings and violent tendencies. Now that I look back and now that I know what I know about the connection of domestic violence and substance abuse, I can see where he maybe would have thought his actions were "justified. Also, knowing what I know now, I think it would be a tai assessment that although he received treatment with his substance abuse issues and has been sober for about 7 years, he never received treatment for the anger issues and I can still see those types of behaviors in him today. Living with someone for that long ,you get to know aha their moods are, and I still know to this day when I can and when I cannot approach him about something, basically, I know what kind of mood he is in as soon as I see him.

His anger is written all over his face, it is days like that when I realize that I am happy I was able to walk away from the relationship. The fear of never knowing how someone is going to react and always having to walk "on eggshells" is a heavy burden to live with everyday. Also being a recovering addict, I know that a lot of my own anger came from my guilt, resentments, and self-loathing, working on those issues and learning to love me for me and also working with the counselors at the Shock program and in treatment, helped me to be able to control my anger and take a "timeout" if I need to.

Now that myself and my ex-husband are sober, I can only hope that we will have broken the cycle of addiction and domestic abuse so that our children do not have to experience the same thing. Domestic violence and substance abuse are two huge problems that, I think, is becoming more and more of a problem in the world today. Being able to recognize the link between these two, I hope that I as a counselor, will be able to help more of my clients who are experiencing the same kind of situation.

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Domestic Violence and Substance Abuse. (2017, Feb 28). Retrieved from

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