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Substance Abuse & Domestic Violence

Substance Abuse & Domestic Violence

The effects of substance abuse are not limited to the addict but often extend to their loved ones as well.

Addicts tend to prioritize their substance abuse over everything else in their lives, including their loved ones. Because addiction can also change a person’s character, it may cause them to act out in ways they normally wouldn’t. Unfortunately in some cases, this may extend to domestic violence. As a result of one or more of these factors, one person’s substance abuse can destroy their relationships with their family members and their spouse.

What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is defined as a pattern of abusive or harmful behavior in any relationship. In these relationships, violence is used to gain control of the other person or to maintain control over them.

Domestic violence can take many forms including:
  • Emotional abuse
  • Psychological abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Social abuse
  • Financial abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Verbal abuse
  • Elderly abuse2
When this streak of aggressive and harmful behavior is combined with substance abuse, the situation can be especially messy. It is important to get outside help like addiction treatment for the user and programs that help the victim break free.

How are Substance Abuse & Domestic Violence Connected?

Unfortunately, substance abuse and domestic violence may go hand in hand. Although not everyone who abuses drugs or alcohol will be abusive, domestic violence is more likely to occur when substance abuse is involved. There are also cases where the victims of domestic violence will turn to drugs or alcohol to help them cope with their current situation and eventually develop an addiction because of it.

Alcohol and Domestic Violence

Alcohol has been found to be a significant contributor to domestic violence in marriage and interpersonal relationships. A collection of studies suggests that anywhere from 25% to 50% of male against female domestic violence occurs when the males are drinking. These men were also more likely to suffer from alcoholism.1 Alcohol intake in men may also help predict violence in marriages. A study from 1993, looked at 181 married men and how much alcohol they drank in the past year. Ultimately, they found that men who were more violent within their marriages drank more than the men who were not.1

Drugs and Domestic Violence

Not only does alcohol play a role in domestic violence, but drug addiction does as well. The connection between domestic violence and addiction to drugs has also been studied extensively. One study found that husbands who were addicted to drugs or had substance abuse problems were more likely to be violent with their wives or other domestic female partners.1 Other studies show similar results.

A survey of domestic violence offenders found that 92% had used drugs or alcohol on the same day, and  67% had used a combination of alcohol and cocaine.1 This specific combination of substances has been known to induce anger and aggression in those under the influence.

Because interpersonal violence and substance abuse can be connected, it is important to get help sooner rather than later for the safety and wellbeing of both the user and their loved ones. Addiction is a disease that can affect a person’s character as well as the way they treat others, and without treatment, these problems may escalate.

At Banyan Treatment Centers, we know that the consequences of substance abuse extend beyond just the user. Along with helping the user get sober and overcome their addiction, several of our locations also offer a family addiction recovery program to help the family move forward as well.

If you or a loved one are suffering from substance abuse, do not wait to get help. Call us today 888-280-4763


    1. NCJRS- Linkage of Domestic Violence and Substance Abuse Services
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.
Substance Abuse & Domestic Violence
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