Both substance use and domestic violence begin as single incidents that cause harm and can quickly devolve into patterns of behavior. According to the Addiction Center, there is a high correlation between substance use and abuse and being under the influence of any substance greatly increases the risk of abusive behavior.
If you’re wondering what the relationship between abuse and addiction is, you’ve come to the right place. This article will explore the effects of substance use on violence and whether one behavior causes the other.
Is there a connection between the effects of substance abuse and domestic violence?
Yes. While those who are affected by a substance use disorder or are perpetrators of abuse may deny that the two patterns are related, it’s clear that they overlap in several ways. Here are some of the reasons that abuse and addiction might affect the same person.
- Need for control: a person who struggles to self-actualize may turn to substances to feel in control of him or herself. Domestic violence also springs from a desire to establish dominance in a relationship
- No coping skills: someone who is unable to regulate his or her own emotional state may take drastic measures to release tension, including turning to drugs or alcohol or asserting power over another
- A craving for predictability: someone who is unable to manage stress and constant change may abuse substances to feel a sense of normalcy, and an abuser will often behave in predictable, routine patterns of abuse and grooming
- Loss of inhibition: using drugs or alcohol impairs a person’s ability to reason, make decisions and store memories. When this occurs, it’s more likely that someone will be provoked to domestic violence
- Destructive thought patterns: someone who has a full-fledged addiction to drugs or alcohol will often become neurotic in thought patterns, and this mental aggravation can stimulate domestic violence
- Money issues: financial issues are often at the core of substance use issues and domestic disputes. Needing money to fund an addiction can cause dangerous conflict within a household
There are clearly many links between the effects of substance use and domestic violence. Addiction and abuse have many connections, but what often unites them is a desire for control or power.
Which causes which: domestic violence and substance abuse
Domestic violence and substance abuse often go hand-in-hand and can be thought of similarly to co-occurring mental health disorders, like depression and anxiety. While abuse and addiction are often observed in the same situations, the presence of one doesn’t automatically indicate the onset of the other.
Since domestic violence and addiction don’t cause each other, you may wonder what underlying factors contribute to the onset of each. There are a few general factors that can lead to problems with drugs and violence, and many of them overlap.
- Environmental factors: the neighborhood a person grows up in, attachment to caregivers, parental involvement, family style, school setting, academic achievement and more can all contribute to the onset of either addiction or aggressive behavior
- Mental health: someone who struggles with a mental health condition is much more likely to experience additional challenges. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that around 7.7 million American adults face both mental illness and substance use disorders
- Socio-economic status: the American Psychological Association states that poverty is a predictable indicator of abuse. Low socio-economic status can lead to low financial and education attainment, causing additional stress and ingraining patterns of abuse for generations
- Genetic factors: the National Library of Medicine states that an estimated 20 to 60 percent of a person’s temperament is determined by a person’s genetic makeup. This includes things like impulsivity, sociability, determination and easy-goingness. Domestic violence and substance use tends to impact those who are more impulsive and struggle socially
The effects of substance use can exacerbate domestic violence, and the effects of domestic violence can exacerbate substance use. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to how each is caused, but it’s clear that the relationship between abuse and addiction is strong.
What to do if you know someone who is affected by domestic violence or substance use
If you know someone who is affected by domestic violence, substance use or both, you may feel overwhelmed and feel like you don’t know the right thing to do.
You may worry that if you call the police to stop abuse, your friend who is dependent on drugs will get in trouble. You may fear that if you ask your partner to stop using substances, he’ll lash out.
Intervening in a situation where domestic violence and addiction are present is a tricky task. Your best bet is to reach out for professional help in handling both issues. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911.
In other circumstances, it’s important to get simultaneous help for domestic violence victims and addiction. Since the issues are so interrelated, they can really only be treated and addressed together by a team of professionals.
Rehab After Work can offer you the support you’re looking for. All of our clinicians at Rehab After Work have a wealth of experience in handling situations like yours and can provide the emotional support, resources and treatment you deserve. Call now to schedule an appointment.