It’s no secret that drug and alcohol abuse can lead to a variety of different legal troubles, but did you know that roughly 85 percent of the jail and prison population are incarcerated due to drug- and alcohol-related crimes? Substance abuse is an epidemic around the world, but most addicts are thrown in jail instead of receiving the treatment they need to recover from their addiction. The disease of addiction leads to DUIs, robberies and possession charges, and many addicts believe that nobody is being hurt as a result of their drug or alcohol abuse.
The reality is that every DUI is one step closer to a fatal car accident, and many robberies lead to some type of physical assault. What most people don’t often hear about is how substance abuse leads to domestic violence because many of these matters aren’t discussed. Domestic violence happens more than anyone would like to admit, and it’s not only men who are the assailants when they’re under the influence of drugs and alcohol. While men are more likely to be the aggravator in the situation, many women are abusive as well.
Surprising Facts About the Connection
When most people think of a relationship of domestic violence and substance abuse, they believe that the assailant is the only one who is drinking and using drugs. Studies have shown that in roughly 42 percent of the people involved in a domestic violence incident were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the assault. The statistics also showed that 92 percent of the time, the assailant was under the influence as well. In many of these cases, both parties are suffering from the disease of addiction.
The statistics should be enough evidence that domestic violence and substance abuse are directly related to each other because there’s only a very small percentage of assailants who weren’t under the influence at the time. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) published a book about the correlation between the two factors. They concluded that substance abuse played a big part in domestic violence cases, but it wasn’t the only factor. More often than not, the assailant witnessed domestic violence in their home when they were a child.
How the Victims are Affected
Those who are the victims of domestic violence are not only substance abusers themselves, but they often suffer from mental health disorders as well. Whether the disorder developed as a result of the violence or it was there before, they often need some type of treatment in order to recover and learn that they no longer have to live this way.
The most common disorders victims suffer from include:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Eating disorders
The studies about victims of domestic violence show that many of them were under the influence of alcohol at the time, but there was a large portion of victims who were using cocaine as well. This doesn’t mean that the only people who have this happen to them are addicts, but many of them turn into addicts as a result of the abuse. Many people who become addicted to substances do so because of environmental factors.
As you can see, many people who are abused develop mental disorders like anxiety and depression, which are primary contributors to the disease of addiction. Addicts are often looking for an escape from their reality, but the problem is that the escape is only temporary. When they drink or use, they may get a euphoric feeling and believe that this is the only way they can feel well about life, but this is an illusion that the disease of addiction creates in the addict’s mind.
Why the Victims Stay
Whether the person being abused is an addict or not, co-dependency is a big problem when it comes to addiction. This is when the person is addicted to helping the other person, but they are often feeding into the other person’s addiction. Supporting the other person doesn’t always involve finances, it can come from simply allowing the person to live the way that they are living. By staying in this type of abusive relationship, the victim is helping the addict rationalize their using as well as abuse.
The best way for both people to recover from this situation is to go through intensive drug and alcohol rehabilitation. The abuser will learn about why they drink and use, and they will also learn a better way to live. Their disease of addiction damages the part of the brain that’s responsible for empathy, so they don’t realize the pain and suffering that they’re causing their significant other as well as the rest of their loved ones. A qualified substance abuse treatment center will also offer family counseling for everyone to overcome the turmoil that they’ve been enduring.