Treating Domestic Abuse and Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Drug and alcohol abuse is often accompanied by aggressive behavior, especially in men. This behavior can lead to violence in certain situations. If you or someone you love is having trouble with addiction and domestic abuse, you may need the support of a spouse abuse and addiction rehab and recovery center.
Read on to learn more about spouse abuse, addiction and treatment, including:
What Is Spouse Abuse?
Domestic violence, or spouse abuse, is a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over a partner. 1According to the U.S. Department of Justice, domestic violence affects people of all ages, races, sexual orientations, income and education levels, and religions.1
Different types of spouse abuse that may occur in a relationship include:1
Physical abuse includes hitting, shoving, punching, grabbing, shaking and biting. Physical abuse may leave bruises and can result in hospital and doctor's visits. However, some victims never receive treatment because of fear or shame.
Emotional abuse may be harder to detect and can include criticizing a partner to demean his or her sense of self-worth, name-calling or trying to damage a partner's reputation.
Psychological abuse involves instilling fear by using intimidation, making threats or destroying property. It can also include forcing a person to isolate from family, friends, work or school.
Sexual abuse includes any sexual acts without a person's consent, such as rape, and sexually degrading a person or making inappropriate comments.
Economic abuse occurs when a victim is forced to be financially dependent on a partner. The aggressor assumes control over the victim's finances and may withhold money or resources to exert control over the victim.
Spouse Abuse Statistics
National surveys suggest that women are more likely to be victims of violence than men. According to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, approximately 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced physical violence by a partner at some point in their lifetimes. 2 Nearly 1 in 10 women have been victims of rape by an intimate partner. Women are also more likely to experience stalking.
Victims of spousal abuse can experience physical and mental health problems, reproductive issues and more frequent hospital visits. 2
Causes of Spouse Abuse
Certain factors may make a person more likely to be a perpetrator of domestic violence. Risk factors for spouse abuse may include: 3
Personality and psychological factors - Characteristics such as low self-esteem, depression, anger and hostility, dependence on others, difficulty coping with emotions, and a need to control others are related to higher rates of violence.
Relationship issues - Spouse abuse is more likely to occur in relationships with significant conflict and instability and in relationships where one partner tries to dominate the other.
Early childhood experiences - Specific childhood experiences have been associated with the child having a higher risk of perpetrating domestic violence when he or she grows up. These factors include poor school performance, delinquent behavior, history of child abuse, strict discipline in the household and poor parenting. The strongest predictors for domestic violence as an adult are past physical or psychological abuse.
Environmental factors - Younger age, heavy drug or alcohol use, limited support, low income, financial stress and unemployment are linked to higher rates of domestic violence. Cultures that advocate traditional gender norms, where women are expected to stay at home and submit to their partners, also experience higher rates of domestic violence.
Relationship Between Spouse Abuse and Addiction
Research has established a link between alcohol and drug abuse and interpersonal violence, including that found in domestic relationships. 5 The perpetrators of violence as well as their victims are prone to abuse substances. 4
Perpetrators. Alcohol or drug abuse can be a catalyst for "perpetrators," or those inflicting the violence. But rarely, if ever, is it the actual cause. Most perpetrators exhibit personality traits or have difficulties coping with anger prior to using drugs and alcohol.3 However, perpetrators may be more likely to express their anger violently when they are under the influence. Nearly 4 out of every 10 instances of domestic violence involve drug and alcohol use on the part of the perpetrator. 6
Survivors. For "survivors" (individuals on the receiving end of domestic abuse), alcohol and drug abuse is frequently a consequence. One research study found that of women entering a drug and alcohol addiction program, 90% had been abused and 95% had been raped. 7, 8 Survivors may use drugs and alcohol to cope with the stress, depression and anxiety that can result from abuse. 4
Treatment for Domestic Abuse and Addiction
Both perpetrators and survivors of domestic violence can benefit from a treatment program that addresses the reasons for abuse, ensures both partners' safety, and also helps deal with addiction, which is often related to the abuse.
Treatment for survivors of domestic violence can include one or more of the following: 4
Crisis intervention focuses on ensuring the survivor's safety, identifying any immediate dangers and developing a safety plan to use in the future. Crisis intervention counselors may also connect survivors with other resources, such as safe housing and legal counsel.
Relapse prevention is important for survivors who also struggle with addiction. Newly sober people may feel overwhelmed by coping with the abuse. Stress and conflict can be triggers for relapse. Relapse prevention strategies teach survivors ways to cope with triggers and rebound from a slip if it does occur.
Treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is important since many survivors experience PTSD. Symptoms can include nightmares, flashbacks, feeling easily startled and not feeling like one's self. A range of different treatment approaches may be used for PTSD, including eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and exposure therapy in a supportive environment.
Treatments for perpetrators may include: 4
Anger management can be conducted in either a group or one-on-one setting and involves helping perpetrators learn healthier ways to express anger. This approach does not advocate for eliminating anger completely. Rather, it aims to teach new ways to express feelings without resorting to violence.
Relapse prevention is equally important for perpetrators, since there is a link between substance use and violence. This approach helps perpetrators understand the impact of drug and alcohol use on violence, and how committing violent acts may lead to more substance use to reduce feelings of shame and guilt.
Finding the Best Spouse Abuse and Addiction Recovery Center
When trying to choose the best inpatient recovery facility for spouse abuse and addiction, you should evaluate how the center carries out treatment, and whether treatment is geared toward perpetrators or survivors. Some treatment facilities accommodate both.
Whichever route you choose, ensure that all your treatment needs are being met. Seek medical assistance first to address any physical or psychological complications. You should seek a treatment facility that will, at a minimum, provide services for substance abuse, domestic violence (whether you are a perpetrator or a survivor), and additional psychiatric services.
Here are a few other factors to consider when choosing a facility:
Safety and sobriety. If you are a victim of abuse, safety and sobriety will be your primary concerns in treatment. If you are a perpetrator, your primary concerns will be sobriety and a commitment to nonviolence. You should select the facility that makes you feel safe and where you feel most comfortable.
Types of treatments used. The types of therapy are also important. Make sure the program incorporates treatment for anger management, trauma and any other co-occurring mental health or behavioral health disorders.
Insurance and payment. You need to take into account whether you can afford the facility and whether it accepts your insurance. Some programs may offer payment plans or sliding scale payments. You can also finance your treatment using credit cards, loans or crowdfunding.
Type of facility. Residential treatment facilities offer the most intensive care, including detox, individual and group therapy, and continuous medical care. You can usually choose between 28- to 30-day , 60-day and 90-day Outpatient programs are also available, but they do not provide the same level of care as inpatient programs. However, they do not require you to live at the facility, so you can continue to take care of work, school and other responsibilities.
State or federal-run clinics are typically much cheaper than private-run facilities. But they may not provide amenities such as exercise, comfortable bedrooms and various therapeutic activities. Make an appointment with a medical expert to determine which type and length of treatment might be appropriate for you.
It may be necessary to bring in legal counsel in cases involving serious violence and abuse. Survivors, with the help of medical professionals, should decide if this is an appropriate option. In cases where violence and/or abuse is minimal, the survivors and perpetrators may seek to address their issues through couples therapy.
We Can Help
If you do not have insurance, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) national helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) to get referrals to treatment centers and support groups that help those without insurance.
. U.S. Department of Justice. (2015). Domestic violence .
. Black, M.C., Basile, K.C., Breiding, M.J., Smith, S.G., Walters, M.L., Merrick, M.T., Chen, J., & Stevens, M.R. (2011). The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): 2010 Summary Report . Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). Intimate partner violence: risk and protective factors .
. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. (1997). Substance abuse treatment and domestic violence . Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 25. HHS Publication No. (SMA) 12-4076. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
. Easton, C. J., Mandel, D. L., Hunkele, K. A., Nich, C., Rounsaville, B. J., & Carroll, K. M. (2007). A cognitive behavioral therapy for alcohol-dependent domestic violence offenders: An integrated substance abuse-domestic violence treatment approach (SADV). American Journal on Addictions, 16(1), 24-31.
. U.S. Department of Justice. (2005). Family violence statistics .
. Illinois Department of Human Services. (2005). Safety and sobriety manual: Best practices in domestic violence and substance abuse .
. Stevens, S. J., & Arbiter, N. (1995). A therapeutic community for substance-abusing pregnant women and women with children: Process and outcome. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 27(1), 49-56.