Addiction, Domestic Violence, and Mutual Causality

It’s common for addiction to be accompanied by a number of co-occurring mental disorders. It’s just as common for addiction to accompany many other struggles. For example, those suffering from addiction or substance use disorder (SUD) may also be experiencing interpersonal issues with family members, trouble holding a job and fulfilling financial responsibilities, and severe problems with their intimate relationships. One of these issues that can accompany a struggle with addiction or lead to addiction is domestic violence.

Victims of domestic violence may already be suffering from addiction, which causes that addiction to intensify as the violence persists. In other situations, someone may turn to self-medication to cope, in turn leading to addiction. Perpetrators of acts of domestic violence are often suffering from addiction or SUD as well. There’s a rabbit hole effect when addiction and domestic violence are involved, making it difficult for victims to seek help. Dometic violence can be extremely dangerous and life-threatening. If you or someone you love is in trouble today, we encourage you to seek help from local domestic violence crisis centers, hotlines, and resources. If you are a victim of domestic violence, read with caution, as reliving past events may be triggering.

Breaking Down the Data

An intimate partner often commits acts of domestic violence. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) and the statistics they provide on domestic violence, almost 20 people are physically abused by an intimate partner every minute. In the United States alone, that comes out to 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men. This is regarding severe physical violence, sexual violence, and even stalking, leading to fear, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and even death.

Domestic violence tends to escalate as time goes on. Victims may sweep the first instance of violence under the rug, excusing the behavior due to stress or feeling like they somehow instigated it. However, this behavior escalates quickly, and regardless, no one should ever be putting their hands on another individual without consent, especially not with violent intentions. It may start with a push or a shove, but those acts will ultimately evolve into increased violence. Domestic violence and victimization most often also result in increased feelings of depression and suicide as well.

Acts of Domestic Violence

Acts of domestic violence more often than not evolve into extraordinary acts of violence. According to the NCADV, they often develop into the following:

  • Rape — approximately half of the female and male victims of rape were violated by an acquaintance.
  • Stalking — millions of Americans of all genders in the United States have been stalked at one point, with 60.8% of female victims and 43.5% of male victims being stalked by a former intimate partner or even their current intimate partner.
  • Homicide — there have been many instances of homicide in situations of domestic violence. While this can include one intimate partner taking the life of the other, 20% of these homicides victims are not the intimate partners themselves but are loved ones, friends and acquaintances, or individuals who have tried to intervene. There are also high rates of murder-suicides as a result of ongoing domestic violence.

Domestic violence situations can be even more tragic when children are involved. Growing up in this environment can lead to mental and behavioral issues, severe physical injuries and lead children down a path of self-medication and addiction.

Effects of Domestic Violence on Addiction

There is an alarming amount of research, data, and other statics regarding domestic violence, a diverse group of victims, and many different situations where domestic violence presents itself. Educating ourselves and being able to locate resources to help these situations is essential.

However, it’s vital to understand the correlation between domestic violence and addiction, as there is a mutual causality between the two. As the violence increases, victims may more often use alcohol to cope or drugs to medicate. Children who begin to fall victim to violence can begin to do the same. If someone is not currently dealing with addiction, these behaviors can indeed lead to addiction. There is also a negative relationship between addiction and the abuser. Violent episodes will often intensify when the abuser is under the influence. In many cases, the abuser may only grow violent when a substance is involved.

Entering into treatment from a violent situation is necessary but may be difficult. Abusers often have a strong hold over their victims. Entering treatment means breaking free from that bond, and you have to be the one to decide to leave.

There is a mutual causality between addiction and domestic violence. Victims of domestic violence may often turn to self-medication to cope with fear, PTSD, or the pain of violence. This self-medication can lead to addiction, and victims who are already suffering from addiction may experience an intensified need to self-medicate. They are often suffering from addiction or several other co-occurring mental disorders as well. Addictions that go untreated can lead to detrimental long-term effects and even death. Addiction in combination with domestic violence can also lead to death at the hands of an intimate partner, wreak irrevocable physical and emotional damage, threaten the lives of any children and involved, and potentially lead them to a path of addiction as well. If you are looking for help but unsure where to turn, it’s vital to locate resources in your area or call the Lakehouse Recovery Center at (877) 762-3707. Let us help you help yourself today.