Addiction and Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is an abusive pattern often coupled with the impulsive effects of addiction. Abusers and victims alike must find a way to break the cycle through treatment and recovery.

What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior used by an intimate partner to gain or maintain power and control in the relationship.

Domestic abuse can quickly escalate when drugs or alcohol are involved.

Domestic violence doesn’t have to be physical violence. It can be any type of harm used to overpower an individual and keep them in fear of the perpetrator.

There are many different behaviors that can be characterized as domestic abuse:

  • Emotional abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Psychological abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Financial abuse

Addiction and Causes of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence begins with one person’s desire to control another. Addiction and substance abuse can be linked to domestic violence in a strong way. When under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, the chances of abusive behavior is more likely to occur.

Nearly 80% of domestic violence crimes are related to the use of drugs.

When a person abuses substances, the chemicals in their brain are rewired to seek out the substance. There is no forethought to any consequences of their behavior. As a result, irrational, violent, or controlling behaviors in a relationship occur.

Addiction and domestic violence share a number of characteristics, such as:

  • a loss of control
  • behavior continues even though it leads to negative consequences
  • addiction and abuse tend to worsen over time
  • both conditions involve denial or shame

When both parties in the relationship have a substance abuse disorder, the risk of domestic violence increases dramatically. While under the influence of the substance, it is difficult for the victim to determine what amount of danger they are in. They will have a difficult time defending themselves against an attack and may be unable to call for help.

Domestic abuse is a vicious cycle. The victim may be unwilling to report the abuse for fear that their partner will physically, emotionally, or financially retaliate. The victim fears the actions of the abuser. Domestic abuse creates an unhealthy dynamic in any relationship and can have sever consequences.

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Effects of Addiction and Domestic Violence

The effects of domestic violence and addiction are immense. Victims of domestic violence are more likely to have difficulties with a wide range of mental health disorders and require inpatient treatment to overcome the trauma from the abuse.

Problems that may develop after domestic abuse include:

Getting Treatment

An important element to sobriety and freedom from a destructive relationship pattern is finding treatment for the substance abuse as well as for the violence. Treatment centers are available to help both the abuser and the abused. The abuser and the abused can overcome the substance addiction and the quality of their overall life will improve.

“My biggest struggles while I was active in my addiction was being homeless and in a physical domestic violence relationship… I have had struggles and difficult moments in recovery but it’s better than when I was active in my addiction. I am so glad that I decided to go into residential treatment, because getting clean was the best thing that has ever happened to me.” – Kimberly S., recovering addict

Anger management classes are beneficial in the rehabilitation process. Counseling sessions with an anger management therapist can address issues related to the need for control and find the underlying cause of the violence.

As a victim of domestic abuse, your personal safety must take priority. It must take priority over any feelings, positive and negative, that you have for the perpetrator. A treatment program can help you establish a plan of recovery that will allow you to move towards positive, healthy relationships, and away from the toxic, dangerous relationships you currently are in.

There are treatment programs and other domestic abuse resources available to help you find safety and healing. If you are caught in the cycle of domestic violence and substance abuse or addiction, please contact us today for help.