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Domestic Violence and Substance Use Disorder

Domestic Violence and Substance Use Disorder

Along with the ongoing opioid epidemic inflicting damage to communities across America, intimate partner violence (IPV), sometimes referred to as domestic violence, is also a growing health concern. The connection between substance use disorder and intimate partner violence correlates, increased awareness of the co-occurring conditions is essential in helping victims.

What is Domestic Violence?

Many people have a misconception that domestic violence only involves physical abuse of a spouse or loved one. However, there are many other types of abuse that someone can face in their home or personal relationships, including:

  • Emotional abuse

  • Sexual abuse

  • Physical abuse

  • Psychological abuse

  • Social abuse

  • Financial abuse

  • Spiritual abuse

  • Image-based abuse

  • Verbal abuse

  • Elderly abuse

Those who are faced with domestic violence are more likely to deal with constant put-downs, controlling rules or expectations, isolation from family and friends, intimidation, threats of harm, public humiliation, and many more insidious and malicious behaviors. The mental effect of these forms of abuse can make a person more susceptible to destructive coping mechanisms, often involving some substance misuse or drug experimentation as a way to escape their situations.

Domestic Violence and Drug Experimentation

People who are trapped in the cycle of domestic violence rarely have a support system or coping mechanisms. This means they are left to their own devices to deal with the daily pain and anguish they face at the hands of their abusers, who are also perceived as their loved ones.

Not only are victims looking to drug experimentation to cope with abuse, but abusers themselves are more likely to be under the influence of substances curing domestic violence crimes, at a rate of 80%. People in abusive relationships are more likely to act out in ways while misusing substances that share several characteristics that align with both addiction and substance abuse, making them a co-occurring condition. Victims of domestic violence who are delving into drug experimentation are also less likely to determine or understand that they’re in an abusive and toxic situation, making it harder for them to seek help or the resources they need to avoid severe consequences.

Getting Help

One of the biggest obstacles for domestic violence victims is escaping isolation and seeking out help from the right avenues and people. Most people who experience domestic violence are stuck in cyclical behavior that is very difficult to break out from. They are very unlikely to report attacks from their partner in fear of retribution or left with nowhere to live and without any financial assets.

Seeking help for domestic violence and substance use disorder can be challenging to conquer but not impossible. There are many knowledgeable and experienced substance use counselors that are available to assist patients through the process of treatment and recovery. They can also supply references for additional suitable domestic abuse shelters and advocacy programs to help victims escape their abusive situations in a safe and protected manner.


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