Substance abuse and domestic violence are more connected than many people think. As a matter of fact, there is a clear correlation between substance abuse and domestic violence occurrences. Because the use of substances lowers inhibitions, many people find themselves more angry and violent than they would in any other situation. This paired with the mental illness that often comes with substance abuse is often a lethal combination.
Unfortunately, the correlation works both ways: not only are substance abusers more likely to be violent, but violent people are more likely to be substance abusers. Some studies have shown that the rate of substance abuse and domestic violence in men deemed to be violent is roughly three times higher than other men.
Substance abuse and domestic violence are related in a couple of important ways:
- Substance abuse causes an extreme amount of stress in families and relationships.
- Substances lower inhibitions.
These reasons are why substance abuse and domestic violence go hand in hand. Law enforcement agencies have reported substance abuse is involved in at least 50% of all domestic violence situations.
One common misconception regarding substance abuse and domestic violence is that substance abusers are not in control of their behavior. These people have just as much control of deciding if and when to hit their partner as any other batterer. If you or someone you know is in a domestic violence situation, please call local authorities or a domestic violence hotline regardless of whether the batterer was under the influence when the domestic violence occurred.
Substance Abuse and Domestic Violence – The Good News
The good news about substance abuse and domestic violence is that since they so often go hand in hand, many substance abuse programs address issues of domestic violence, as well. Substance abuse and domestic violence are so often related, a person may receive treatment for both substance abuse and domestic violence all within the same treatment program. This is good news not only from a financial point of view for the client, but also because a counselor can address some of the deeper issues of why the client is suffering from substance abuse and domestic violence. This means that a client who may not have sought help for his or her problems with domestic violence often receives treatment when he or she seeks treatment for a substance abuse problem.
Substance Abuse and Domestic Violence- The Final Word
It is important to remember that substance abuse and domestic violence do not cause each other to happen but that there is a statistical correlation between the two. Because people who abuse substances are more likely to use violence and people who use violence are more likely to cope by using drugs or alcohol, these issues must be treated simultaneously. Although they do not cause one another, substance abuse and domestic violence feed off of one another.
The final important link between substance abuse and domestic violence comes not with the batterer but the victim. Victims of domestic violence are more likely to become substance abusers later in life to cope with the trauma. This means that substance abuse and domestic violence work together in a cycle of destruction that can only be addressed through appropriate interventions and treatment. A substance abuse counselor is a key player in destroying this chain of destruction.