Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Domestic Violence and Substance Abuse Link: How to Break It.

 Recovery Pride sent this post to share on my blog. I hope it proves useful. 

A dangerous duo that can create long-term issues, passed down from parents to children are domestic violence and substance abuse.  Domestic violence is not directly caused by substance abuse, but it has played a big role as a common factor among abusers.  Their victims have also shown a higher frequency to turn to substance abuse to distance themselves from pain or memories during the abusive relationship or in the aftermath.  The prevalence of children later abusing drugs or alcohol also rises after being exposed to domestic violence. 

 The Cost of Domestic Violence
Domestic violence within a home threatens the physical safety and mental stability of everyone inside.  When the abuser uses drugs or alcohol as a way to excuse themselves or manipulate weaker members of the family, the cycle of abuse grows.
Most spouses or partners stay with their abusers due to feelings of helplessness, fear, or the threat of violence to themselves or others.  A coping mechanism they may choose might be drugs or alcohol to dull the pain.   Drug or alcohol dependency may make it more difficult for the victim to leave the abusive relationship and seek help.
Domestic violence is something that usually increases in frequency and severity over time, in the same way substance abuse would.  Growing up in an abusive household can put children at a greater risk of trauma, the possibility of turning to substance abuse, and getting involved in their own abusive relationship later in life. 
What To Do
Treatment for a domestic violence situation is tricky.  The abuser and victims are not likely to come up with useful solutions for themselves, especially when substance abuse is involved, so help and support will need to come from outside their household.  The abused partner and children should be taken somewhere safe to get away from the domestic violence abuser.  Treatment staff need to care for any substance abuse problems that the victims may be suffering from along with domestic violence abuse injuries and trauma.  Support and validation is imperative to empower them to take charge of their recovery.
Treatment for the domestic violence abuser could be more difficult to manage.  Batterers often use alcohol or drugs as an excuse for violent behavior or to dull the guilt they might feel from it. So just getting treatment for substance abuse will not end anger and violence.  Many blame their behavior on being drunk or under the influence to avoid taking responsibility for their own actions. Taking responsibility for those actions is the only path to rehabilitation for the domestic violence abuser.
Extended domestic violence care and support is in more short supply than substance abuse support groups.   Unfortunately, there is not much collaboration between the differing care groups for better treatment options that could rehabilitate substance abusing domestic violence batterers. 
The best option is to seek specialist support  to address long term issues and habits that need to be evaluated.  Past victimization, anger, and violent behavior need to be treated side by side with substance abuse issues during the recovery process. The cycle of domestic violence and substance abuse can be broken if all facets of the problem are addressed.