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Alcohol Addiction And Domestic Violence

The link between alcohol abuse and domestic violence

Alcohol is an often overlooked and underestimated substance. Since it’s legally produced, distributed, and purchased, many people view alcohol as being separate from other mind-altering substances, like marijuana, prescription medications, and crystal methamphetamine, among many others. However, it’s because of this underestimation that so many people become addicted to alcohol, and with that addiction comes the numerous repercussions and implications that result from an alcohol problem.

When it comes to substance abuse, there’s often a focus on the individual. This is understandable since it’s the individual who becomes addicted, but that means the effects on the people in the addict’s life—a romantic partner, children, parents, other family members, and close friends—are often overlooked.

One of the ways alcohol can be devastating to the people around the alcoholic is when intimate partner violence is involved. Therefore, the following will take a more thorough look at domestic or spousal violence, particularly what the term “domestic violence” means, rates of intimate partner violence in the US, and how alcohol could or may be related to the domestic violence seen today.

Conceptualizing Domestic Violence

Abuse can happen in all families. While we often think of physical abuse, physical violence isn’t the only means of abusing someone. Moreover, violence in the family unit isn't something that only married couples struggle with.

Rather, domestic violence refers to familial violence as a whole, which can affect couples who are dating or living together, adult family members residing in the same household, siblings, and children. Many people also consider violence between non-related roommates to count as domestic violence as well.

It’s difficult to say with any amount of certainty how much domestic violence occurs in the United States (US) or even around the world, since it’s assumed that a significant amount of domestic abuse goes unreported. Therefore, estimates show a pretty significant range from 960,000 to 3,000,000 annual incidents of violence occurring between spouses, boyfriends or girlfriends, or other family members around the world.

Another reason that domestic violence is difficult to quantify is that it takes so many different forms, many of which can be subtle. Friends and family members may be able to detect signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, but not always. In the most extreme cases, acts of domestic violence could result in death or some lifelong injury.

The primary reason why domestic violence goes unreported is that victims are afraid to come forward, whether it’s because they fear further retaliation, or because they’ve been manipulated into thinking that the violence is merely a punishment for their wrongdoings.

As such, it’s unfortunately common for victims of domestic violence to convince themselves that they deserve the abuse or that it’s not as bad as they might think. However, domestic violence has been found to be the leading cause of death and injury in women under the age of 45, with at least one woman being murdered by her current or former romantic partner each week in the United States.

Physical Abuse

Physical Abuse

Alcohol has a significant impact on rates of physical abuse in intimate relationships. Users have been 11 times more likely to become physically violent toward romantic partners on days they’ve been drinking alcohol.

Emotional Abuse
Typically the most difficult type of abuse to observe, emotional abuse may consist of one person ignoring or rejecting the other, belittlement, constant criticism, encouraging substance abuse, imposed isolation, or corrupting a loved one.

Mental Abuse
Mental abuse is a form of abuse that involves situations where the victim is manipulated or coerced into patterns of thought that cause low self-esteem, feelings of inferiority, or that lead to some type of self-harm.

Domestic Violence in the US

According to a 2010 survey, just over 1 in every 3 women (35.6 percent) and more than 1 in 4 men (28.5 percent) in the US have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetimes, all of which can be considered domestic abuse when committed by a domestic partner.

Additionally, victims of sexual abuse are vulnerable to HIV and STDs when the abuser is victimizing other people or including outsiders in sex acts that are intended to amplify the humiliation of the victim.

Unfortunately, domestic violence affects children in the home as well, even when the children aren’t the victims of domestic abuse or violence. When children are in a home where there is domestic violence, they are often witnesses to the abuse and yet they remain helpless to stop it.

There’s been evidence to suggest that observing domestic abuse at such a young and impressionable age can lead to children mirroring the behavior when they reach adulthood. This emotional scarring and mirrored behavior will have huge implications with regard to their future relationships.

It has also been suggested that boys who witness the abuse of their mothers are more likely to enact physical violence on their female partners in adulthood than boys who are raised in nonviolent homes. Conversely, girls who bear witness to domestic violence—particularly the witnessing of their mother’s abuse—have shown to be more likely to view the abuse as normal and can end up in abusive relationships themselves.

From 2003 to 2012, violence in the family unit accounted for approximately 21 percent of all violent crimes, which included violence against both intimate partners and other familial relations. However, the majority of studies on domestic violence tend to focus on women as victims, which seems to be because women are more likely to report the crimes while men tend to be more likely to protect themselves from criminal, physical abuse.

But domestic violence committed against men causes the same physical and emotional trauma as it does to women, especially when the men were abused as children. Additionally, men are more likely to hide experiences of domestic abuse—both historical and contemporary—due to the stereotype that only women or those who are feminine being victims of domestic violence.

There’s also the tendency for men to assume that no one would believe them, so they often become angry with themselves and blame themselves for not being able to stop the abuse. According to surveys, it’s estimated that about 1 in 10 men in the US has experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner.

How is Domestic Violence Defined?

Again, it’s a common misconception that only physical abuse counts as domestic violence, but abuse can take many different forms. For instance, a person who tries to exert control over a spouse or romantic partner would be a domestic abuser. Alternately, stalking can be considered a form of domestic abuse when it occurs between members of a family unit or household.

Additionally, emotional abuse is a factor in almost all physically abusive relationships. In cases of emotional abuse, the abuser may prohibit the victim from going to work, going out into public, socializing with family members or friends, and any other instances in which the victim could be alone with someone other than the abuser.

Typically, abusers don’t show affection, except when it’s used as a manipulation tactic. Otherwise, intimidation and the threat of physical harm is often the means with which abusers exert control without resorting to actual physical violence, which they assume will protect them from accusations of domestic abuse.

If emotional abuse and control escalates over an extended period of time in a domestic situation, it becomes increasingly possible that the abuser will resort to some act of violence or even sexual abuse.

When physical abuse starts, it’s often in the form of things like biting, hair-pulling, and other physical attacks that can be kept out of sight when the person is clothed. Additionally, sexual abuse is more common in domestic situations than one might think because it’s another form of abuse that isn’t readily observed by outsiders, which means that the abuser is protected from persecution.

Alcoholism and Aggression

As the most-abused substance in the US, alcohol is often discussed in the context of how frequently is seems to lead to aggression and violence among a significant amount of people who regularly abuse alcohol. The tendency for alcohol to evoke anger and aggression isn’t a rule, but seems to be the result of how alcohol affects the brain and some of the behavioral characteristics it triggers in some people.

Alcohol abuse lowers an individual’s ability to control impulsive behavior, especially when provoked. Under the influence, an individual may become too angry, finding it difficult to process others’ words and behavior as something other than a personal attack, and thus be more inclined to resort to violence while intoxicated.

Why certain people become more aggressive when drinking lies partially in their personality. Individuals who are normally inconsiderate of consequences will merely have alcohol act as a catalyst. Other individuals who repress aggressive thoughts normally may have their inhibitions lowered by alcohol and thus will not have any reservations toward violence as they would sober.

Furthermore, it becomes difficult for intoxicated individuals to fully consider the consequences when increasingly motivated by emotion and alcohol. This is largely because alcohol has proven to diminish consideration of the future and, instead, causes people to simply focus on the here-and-now.

There’s also evidence that men who have a tendency toward anger, aggression, and violence are more likely to consume alcohol to relieve anxieties or stress and as a coping method for their anger. So while it may appear that drinking got them angry, some men may have been already in that mindset beforehand and only heightened their emotions through alcohol.

Domestic abuse can and does happen when the alcoholic is sober, due to the effects that alcohol has on brain structure and neurological functioning. And as years of alcohol abuse pass, the damage done to the brain accumulates and inhibits a number of cognitive processes, such as decision-making, consideration of cause and effect, and numerous other important cognitive functions.

When Alcohol Abuse and Domestic Violence Collide

One reason why alcohol is sometimes a factor in instances of domestic violence is simply because alcohol is legal and readily available. Alcohol tends to be most commonly used to ease emotional pain or to celebrate important events.

Alcohol can trigger violence in a domestic scenario when one or more members of the household have a drinking problem. The person with the drinking problem will want to continue using alcohol to excuse prior behaviors while the other person can either disregard these events and let them continue or cause additional contention by not accepting alcoholism as a valid excuse.

As such, the presence of an alcohol problem is a detriment in both scenarios. Alcohol abuse can also put financial pressure on a family, which can lead to heated arguments. Someone losing their job or salary income, financial strain, or work schedules can trigger an abuser to take out their stress on the victim, especially after excessive drinking.

It’s worth mentioning the old adage that alcohol causes inebriated people to make confessions that they wouldn’t make when sober. If the confession causes personal or familial harm, it’s likely to escalate into a more serious situation.

There have also been a number of studies that found victims of domestic abuse will often turn to substance abuse as a means of coping. In fact, the existence of domestic violence before the introduction of alcohol abuse is extremely common. In many such instances, the abuser was not an alcoholic, but rather the victim became an alcoholic by self-medicating with alcohol in a desperate attempt to cope.

Drinking alcohol at all has the potential to trigger high emotions, and a recent study concluded that up to 57 percent of men and 27 percent of women involved in marital violence had been drinking at the time of the abuse.

When alcoholism is causing, contributing, or related to domestic violence in the home, alcoholism treatment becomes extremely important for two key reasons. For one thing, it helps the alcoholic regain his or her health. Due to the relationship between alcohol and domestic violence, treatment would protect the family as a whole and put a stop to the emotional, physical, or sexual abuse that has been harming the family.

In effect, removing alcohol from the situation will allow members of a family to better communicate with and understand one another. Lifestyle changes that lead to abstinence from alcohol are necessary to help ensure the addiction does not continue.

If you or someone you love is suffering from alcoholism and would like to learn about the treatment options that are available, call Drug Treatment Center Finder at (855) 619-8070. We want to help you get your independence, health, and life back. So begin your recovery journey with just one phone call today.

Additionally, if you are experiencing domestic violence in the home, please contact the National Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (VP) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).

Abuse can happen in all families. While we often think of physical abuse, physical violence isn’t the only means of abusing someone. Moreover, violence in the family unit isn't something that only married couples struggle with.

Rather, domestic violence refers to familial violence as a whole, which can affect couples who are dating or living together, adult family members residing in the same household, siblings, and children. Many people also consider violence between non-related roommates to count as domestic violence as well.

It’s difficult to say with any amount of certainty how much domestic violence occurs in the United States (US) or even around the world, since it’s assumed that a significant amount of domestic abuse goes unreported. Therefore, estimates show a pretty significant range from 960,000 to 3,000,000 annual incidents of violence occurring between spouses, boyfriends or girlfriends, or other family members around the world.

Another reason that domestic violence is difficult to quantify is that it takes so many different forms, many of which can be subtle. Friends and family members may be able to detect signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, but not always. In the most extreme cases, acts of domestic violence could result in death or some lifelong injury.

The primary reason why domestic violence goes unreported is that victims are afraid to come forward, whether it’s because they fear further retaliation, or because they’ve been manipulated into thinking that the violence is merely a punishment for their wrongdoings.

As such, it’s unfortunately common for victims of domestic violence to convince themselves that they deserve the abuse or that it’s not as bad as they might think. However, domestic violence has been found to be the leading cause of death and injury in women under the age of 45, with at least one woman being murdered by her current or former romantic partner each week in the United States.

Array

Physical Abuse

Alcohol has a significant impact on rates of physical abuse in intimate relationships. Users have been 11 times more likely to become physically violent toward romantic partners on days they’ve been drinking alcohol.

Emotional Abuse
Typically the most difficult type of abuse to observe, emotional abuse may consist of one person ignoring or rejecting the other, belittlement, constant criticism, encouraging substance abuse, imposed isolation, or corrupting a loved one.

Mental Abuse
Mental abuse is a form of abuse that involves situations where the victim is manipulated or coerced into patterns of thought that cause low self-esteem, feelings of inferiority, or that lead to some type of self-harm.

According to a 2010 survey, just over 1 in every 3 women (35.6 percent) and more than 1 in 4 men (28.5 percent) in the US have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetimes, all of which can be considered domestic abuse when committed by a domestic partner.

Additionally, victims of sexual abuse are vulnerable to HIV and STDs when the abuser is victimizing other people or including outsiders in sex acts that are intended to amplify the humiliation of the victim.

Unfortunately, domestic violence affects children in the home as well, even when the children aren’t the victims of domestic abuse or violence. When children are in a home where there is domestic violence, they are often witnesses to the abuse and yet they remain helpless to stop it.

There’s been evidence to suggest that observing domestic abuse at such a young and impressionable age can lead to children mirroring the behavior when they reach adulthood. This emotional scarring and mirrored behavior will have huge implications with regard to their future relationships.

It has also been suggested that boys who witness the abuse of their mothers are more likely to enact physical violence on their female partners in adulthood than boys who are raised in nonviolent homes. Conversely, girls who bear witness to domestic violence—particularly the witnessing of their mother’s abuse—have shown to be more likely to view the abuse as normal and can end up in abusive relationships themselves.

From 2003 to 2012, violence in the family unit accounted for approximately 21 percent of all violent crimes, which included violence against both intimate partners and other familial relations. However, the majority of studies on domestic violence tend to focus on women as victims, which seems to be because women are more likely to report the crimes while men tend to be more likely to protect themselves from criminal, physical abuse.

But domestic violence committed against men causes the same physical and emotional trauma as it does to women, especially when the men were abused as children. Additionally, men are more likely to hide experiences of domestic abuse—both historical and contemporary—due to the stereotype that only women or those who are feminine being victims of domestic violence.

There’s also the tendency for men to assume that no one would believe them, so they often become angry with themselves and blame themselves for not being able to stop the abuse. According to surveys, it’s estimated that about 1 in 10 men in the US has experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner.

Again, it’s a common misconception that only physical abuse counts as domestic violence, but abuse can take many different forms. For instance, a person who tries to exert control over a spouse or romantic partner would be a domestic abuser. Alternately, stalking can be considered a form of domestic abuse when it occurs between members of a family unit or household.

Additionally, emotional abuse is a factor in almost all physically abusive relationships. In cases of emotional abuse, the abuser may prohibit the victim from going to work, going out into public, socializing with family members or friends, and any other instances in which the victim could be alone with someone other than the abuser.

Typically, abusers don’t show affection, except when it’s used as a manipulation tactic. Otherwise, intimidation and the threat of physical harm is often the means with which abusers exert control without resorting to actual physical violence, which they assume will protect them from accusations of domestic abuse.

If emotional abuse and control escalates over an extended period of time in a domestic situation, it becomes increasingly possible that the abuser will resort to some act of violence or even sexual abuse.

When physical abuse starts, it’s often in the form of things like biting, hair-pulling, and other physical attacks that can be kept out of sight when the person is clothed. Additionally, sexual abuse is more common in domestic situations than one might think because it’s another form of abuse that isn’t readily observed by outsiders, which means that the abuser is protected from persecution.

Array

As the most-abused substance in the US, alcohol is often discussed in the context of how frequently is seems to lead to aggression and violence among a significant amount of people who regularly abuse alcohol. The tendency for alcohol to evoke anger and aggression isn’t a rule, but seems to be the result of how alcohol affects the brain and some of the behavioral characteristics it triggers in some people.

Alcohol abuse lowers an individual’s ability to control impulsive behavior, especially when provoked. Under the influence, an individual may become too angry, finding it difficult to process others’ words and behavior as something other than a personal attack, and thus be more inclined to resort to violence while intoxicated.

Why certain people become more aggressive when drinking lies partially in their personality. Individuals who are normally inconsiderate of consequences will merely have alcohol act as a catalyst. Other individuals who repress aggressive thoughts normally may have their inhibitions lowered by alcohol and thus will not have any reservations toward violence as they would sober.

Furthermore, it becomes difficult for intoxicated individuals to fully consider the consequences when increasingly motivated by emotion and alcohol. This is largely because alcohol has proven to diminish consideration of the future and, instead, causes people to simply focus on the here-and-now.

There’s also evidence that men who have a tendency toward anger, aggression, and violence are more likely to consume alcohol to relieve anxieties or stress and as a coping method for their anger. So while it may appear that drinking got them angry, some men may have been already in that mindset beforehand and only heightened their emotions through alcohol.

Domestic abuse can and does happen when the alcoholic is sober, due to the effects that alcohol has on brain structure and neurological functioning. And as years of alcohol abuse pass, the damage done to the brain accumulates and inhibits a number of cognitive processes, such as decision-making, consideration of cause and effect, and numerous other important cognitive functions.

One reason why alcohol is sometimes a factor in instances of domestic violence is simply because alcohol is legal and readily available. Alcohol tends to be most commonly used to ease emotional pain or to celebrate important events.

Alcohol can trigger violence in a domestic scenario when one or more members of the household have a drinking problem. The person with the drinking problem will want to continue using alcohol to excuse prior behaviors while the other person can either disregard these events and let them continue or cause additional contention by not accepting alcoholism as a valid excuse.

As such, the presence of an alcohol problem is a detriment in both scenarios. Alcohol abuse can also put financial pressure on a family, which can lead to heated arguments. Someone losing their job or salary income, financial strain, or work schedules can trigger an abuser to take out their stress on the victim, especially after excessive drinking.

It’s worth mentioning the old adage that alcohol causes inebriated people to make confessions that they wouldn’t make when sober. If the confession causes personal or familial harm, it’s likely to escalate into a more serious situation.

There have also been a number of studies that found victims of domestic abuse will often turn to substance abuse as a means of coping. In fact, the existence of domestic violence before the introduction of alcohol abuse is extremely common. In many such instances, the abuser was not an alcoholic, but rather the victim became an alcoholic by self-medicating with alcohol in a desperate attempt to cope.

Drinking alcohol at all has the potential to trigger high emotions, and a recent study concluded that up to 57 percent of men and 27 percent of women involved in marital violence had been drinking at the time of the abuse.

When alcoholism is causing, contributing, or related to domestic violence in the home, alcoholism treatment becomes extremely important for two key reasons. For one thing, it helps the alcoholic regain his or her health. Due to the relationship between alcohol and domestic violence, treatment would protect the family as a whole and put a stop to the emotional, physical, or sexual abuse that has been harming the family.

In effect, removing alcohol from the situation will allow members of a family to better communicate with and understand one another. Lifestyle changes that lead to abstinence from alcohol are necessary to help ensure the addiction does not continue.

If you or someone you love is suffering from alcoholism and would like to learn about the treatment options that are available, call Drug Treatment Center Finder at (855) 619-8070. We want to help you get your independence, health, and life back. So begin your recovery journey with just one phone call today.

Additionally, if you are experiencing domestic violence in the home, please contact the National Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (VP) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).

ALCOHOL AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ISSUES

18-34

The age range that women are at the highest risk of domestic violence

25%

Of women will be a victim of domestic violence in her lifetime

66%

Of all female homicides involved the victims being killed by their romantic partners or members of their own families

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