What is the Connection Between Domestic Violence and Addiction?

Contact Us

When you think of domestic violence, you think of someone who physically harms a loved one, correct? Domestic violence is a dangerous cycle that can seem endless to the victim on the receiving end. But have you ever considered that there is a connection between domestic violence and addiction?

What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence can be defined as “violent or aggressive behavior within the home”. Now, this form of violence is often seen in intimate relationships. Meaning that one partner uses aggression and violence to gain and maintain control over the other partner. However it is not limited to these intimate relationships, it can reach parents and children, as well as siblings. Add in drug or alcohol abuse, and you can see there is a connection between addiction and domestic violence.

Although often physical, this type of violence does not exclusively refer to physical attacks, there is a wide range of behaviors that can be classified as domestic violence. Using any form of aggression can be viewed as domestic violence. Some other forms are:

  • Emotional Abuse – things such as child neglect, or purposefully neglecting a partner emotionally can be considered emotional abuse.
  • Sexual Abuse – any unwanted or forced sexual contact.
  • Financial Abuse – withholding finances, forcing a partner to be completely financially dependent upon their partner can be viewed as financial abuse.
  • Verbal Abuse – aggressively speaking to or berating a partner 
  • Elderly Abuse – neglecting, whether physically or emotionally, or physically harming a person of elderly age.
  • Psychological Abuse – using psychological tactics and manipulation to gain control over a partner 

Effects of Domestic Violence on Addiction

Addiction and domestic violence can go hand in hand. Many people who are the victims of domestic violence often turn to drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism in order to withstand the abuse. This can, and often does lead to a physical dependence on the substance that is difficult to break. The physical dependence can cause withdrawal symptoms when the victim is unable to take a drink or a drug. On top of domestic violence, addiction is another beast that the victim will eventually have to break free from. 

When it comes to substance abuse and domestic violence, it can often go both ways. An abuser can also suffer from substance abuse, and this often leads to the violence occurring. Addiction and domestic violence are not always found in the abuser, but it is a possibility. A person using drugs or alcohol often has lowered inhibitions, and can exhibit reckless behavior and violence. Unfortunately, loved ones can fall victim to this dangerous pairing. 

Now, when both parties suffer from substance abuse, it is a recipe for danger. The risk for domestic violence increases when both people suffer from addiction. Domestic violence and addiction do not discriminate, anyone can be a victim and anyone can suffer from addiction. They are both a vicious cycle that must be broken for success to occur. 

Effects of Domestic Violence on the Victim

There are many things a victim of domestic violence can experience. Outside of the physical pain, there is an abundance of physical and emotional reactions that can occur as well. These are some examples:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Suicidal Ideation
  • Suicide Attempts
  • PTSD
  • Self Harm
  • Substance Abuse

The different reactions can occur in different combinations, at different times. There is no linear response to the trauma of addiction and domestic violence. However, all aspects of these physical, emotional, and psychological responses are treatable.

Treatment for Addiction and Domestic Violence

Sobriety can be key in breaking the cycle of domestic violence. There is help out there for those who need or want it. Living in these self destructive patterns of addiction is detrimental to a person’s life. Addiction can lead to different consequences. There’s the possibility of physical consequences such as cognitive changes, permanent behavioral changes, and even things like depression and anxiety. There is also the possibility of legal issues, loss of family and friends, and there is the far worse consequence of death.

 When it comes to addiction and domestic violence treatment, there’s different therapies and treatment plans that can be beneficial to each person suffering individually. Things like anger management, individual and/or group therapy, holistic therapies like meditation, massage, or yoga could all be beneficial to overcoming both addiction and these anger problems leading to addiction and domestic violence. There is help, and there is no need to face these things alone. All it takes is reaching out for help.

If you or a loved one are suffering from addiction and domestic violence, help is only a phone call away. Here, at The Healing Center Cherry Hill, we strive to provide the best care possible. Whether that be overcoming addiction or healing from the traumas of domestic violence. Reaching out for help is the first step. We provide a positive environment where healing can occur. Our team of professionals specializes in helping people overcome traumas, and addiction. Reach out today to our admissions staff and begin your journey to healing! Addiction and domestic violence do not need to be a part of your story.

Resources if you are experiencing domestic violence: