October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and in light of that, we want to take a moment to discuss the link between substance use and domestic violence. It is well-known that alcohol and drugs can be significant factors in domestic violence incidents, but their root causes are not always understood. We will explore some of the reasons why alcohol and drugs are often involved in domestic violence cases and how individuals can address this issue.
Domestic Violence & Substance Use Findings
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in three women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. While any kind of abuse is unacceptable, it's worth noting that domestic violence often escalates when alcohol or drugs are involved. In fact, a study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that:
“Alcohol misuse was reported by 44 percent of perpetrators and 26 percent of victims; drug misuse was reported by 22 percent of perpetrators and 10 percent of victims.”
So what's behind this troubling statistic? Let's take a closer look.
Why Are Drug & Alcohol Use Linked to Domestic Violence?
One reason alcohol and drugs are so commonly involved in domestic violence cases is that they can lower inhibitions and impair judgment. When someone is intoxicated or high, they may be more likely to act out in a violent way, or they may be less able to control their anger. Substance use can also make it more difficult for someone to see the warning signs and leave an abusive relationship.
Another factor that contributes to the link between substance use and domestic violence is economic insecurity. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, “Substance abuse is both a cause and consequence of poverty and can contribute to financial instability in families. This increases stress levels, which can, in turn, lead to more violence.” When people are struggling to make ends meet, they may be more likely to turn to alcohol or drugs as a way to cope with their stress, and this can lead to more incidents of domestic violence.
How to Address Domestic Violence & Substance Abuse
So what can be done to address the link between substance use and domestic violence? First, it's important to raise awareness about this issue. Domestic violence happens in all types of relationships, and it's important for people to understand that alcohol and drugs can be a factor. Second, it's important to provide resources for people who are struggling with substance abuse. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, many resources are available to help. Finally, we need to continue to support organizations that work to prevent and respond to domestic violence. These organizations provide vital services to victims and survivors, and they play a critical role in ending this cycle of violence.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please reach out for help at (678) 940-7873. You are not alone.