Domestic Abuse and Addiction

Domestic violence, also known as intimate partner violence, affects millions of people in the United States. It occurs when an individual causes sexual, physical or psychological harm to a current or former partner or spouse.

Intimate partner violence is characterized by coercive behavior, which is an act or pattern of acts such as assaults, threats, humiliation, intimidation or other forms of abuse used to harm, punish or frighten victims. This pattern of abuse often causes victims to fear what their abuser will do if they seek help.

The abuse may involve verbal, emotional and physical intimidation, destruction of property, maiming or killing pets, rape and physical attacks.

The four main types of domestic abuse include:

Physical Violence
Sexual Violence
Stalking
Psychological Aggression

Prolonged abuse can cause victims to develop lasting health problems, such as mental health disorders and eating disorders. Victims may also use drugs or alcohol to cope with the emotional toll of abuse. For some, substance abuse may progress to addiction.

According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, research has found that both victims and abusers are 11 times more likely to be involved in domestic violence incidents on days of heavy substance use.

Most substance abusers are not abusive toward their partners. However, a large number of people who abuse their partners also engage in substance abuse.

Heavy substance use is a major risk factor for domestic violence. Abusing drugs or alcohol may exacerbate an abuser’s pre-existing violent tendencies, but no concrete evidence has shown that using drugs or alcohol causes domestic abuse.

 

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