Alcohol and Domestic Violence Connection

Excessive consumption of alcohol and substance abuse impair a person’s judgment, lowering their inhibitions and affecting cognitive responses. For example, drinking alcohol compulsively makes it harder for a person to reflect on their impulsive behavior and self-regulate. As such, alcohol abuse and domestic abuse/sexual violence often appear together.

To understand how alcohol abuse ties to domestic violence crimes, let’s delve into what domestic violence is, as well as what alcoholism is, its symptoms and how it plays into intimate partner violence.

alcohol and domestic violence

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What Is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence or intimate partner violence (IPV) is an abusive behavior pattern that an abuser uses to assert dominance over their victim in a relationship. Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence, irrespective of gender, race, age, sexual orientation or religion. If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline as soon as you can. Domestic abuse can occur through emotional, physical, psychological, financial, sexual, mental or social abuse. Abusers use different tactics to keep their partners in an abusive cycle:
  • Intimidation: In this intimate partner violence, the abuser scares the victim with threatening actions like breaking things or being physically abusive.
  • Emotional abuse:  The abuser uses tactics like name-calling, belittling, humiliating, gaslighting and playing mind games to lower the victim’s self-esteem and force them to do what they want.
  • Economic abuse: In this intimate partner violence scenario, the abuser is the sole provider; they may withhold or control income to exercise control. Alternatively, they could interfere with the victim’s job.
Other tactics to maintain an abusive relationship may include manipulation, isolation, using children to deliver threats and gender privilege.

What Is Alcoholism?

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) or alcoholism is the continued consumption of alcohol despite its negative consequences. AUD is a clinically diagnosed disease. Although alcohol dependence and addiction co-occur, they aren’t the same. Alcohol dependence is a physical affliction, while addiction is psychological.

What Causes Alcohol Addiction?

Substance abuse, including long-term use of alcohol, rewires the brain, causing it to rely on alcohol to produce feel-good neurotransmitters — dopamine and serotonin. Dopamine and serotonin create the high and loss of inhibitions associated with alcohol misuse. This may lead to aggressive behaviors leading to domestic violence. According to alcohol studies, Alcohol abuse can stem from several factors.

Genetics and Physiology

There’s a strong relationship between alcohol use and biological risk factors. Scientists have traced at least 51 genes to alcoholism in different chromosome regions. If these genes are passed down through generations, family members may be more susceptible to alcohol abuse.

Some people can limit their alcohol or drug intake, while others have strong impulses to continue indulging. Others may derive immense pleasure, encouraging the brain to keep going. Over time, this behavior makes you vulnerable to alcohol dependence and drug abuse.

Psychological Factors

People deal with life’s challenges in different ways, and how a person copes with situations can influence their behavior. For example, people who struggle with anxiety, depression and other mental conditions are more susceptible to substance abuse to suppress unpleasant emotions. Additionally, people who grew up around verbal abuse and exacerbate violence tend to drink more.

Environmental Factors

People who live close to bars, clubs and breweries have a more positive outlook on alcohol use, making them more open to alcohol and substance use, including binge drinking alcohol. Individuals with more disposable income are also more likely to consume alcohol.

In other cases, communities living in poverty can overindulge in alcohol as a coping mechanism against their economic hardships. Additionally, people who have experienced childhood trauma may turn to regular alcohol use as a way of numbing their feelings.

Signs and Symptoms of Alcoholism

Slurred speech, declining health and hygiene, bloodshot eyes and poor coordination are some visible side effects of alcohol abuse. Alcohol abuse can also lead to psychological symptoms such as anxiety and depression, mood swings, delusions, memory loss and irritability.

Excessive alcohol consumption also affects the user’s behavior. For instance, they may lie to cover up their alcohol problems, lose interest in things they used to like, become withdrawn or develop issues at work or school.

Alcoholism has severe effects on a person’s health. For example, it can lead to cancer, diabetes, liver cirrhosis, digestive issues, mental disorders, sleeping disorders, chronic inflammation, dementia, heart disease and death.

Attempting to recover from alcohol addiction could lead to severe withdrawal symptoms. These include nausea, migraines, nervousness, insomnia, body discomfort and trouble concentrating, among others. It is best to seek professional treatment if you want to stop drinking alcohol rather than quitting by yourself.

risk factors of alcohol use disorder

What Is the Role of Alcoholism in Domestic Violence Crimes?

Alcohol use is almost never the sole trigger for domestic violence. However, alcohol lowers a person’s inhibitions, causing violent urges to surface. While sobriety can reduce the frequency of domestic abuse, an abusive person must deal with the underlying issues triggering these violent impulses.

According to research made from victim reports, two-thirds of domestic violence occurs when the abuser had been drinking at the time of the offense. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that at least 55% of attackers consumed alcohol before the assault. This is because alcohol is a mind-altering drug that inhibits the brain’s cognitive functions.

People who grow up around domestic abuse, physical violence and child abuse also tend to abuse alcohol. This could be a result of either genetics or trauma from parental domestic violence. Whatever the case, these children may grow up to repeat the violent behavior of domestic abuse on their spouses. Studies have also shown that women in abusive relationships are more likely to take alcohol to numb the pain.

Married couples grapple with many stressors on a daily basis. External stressors like in-laws and career or internal stressors like parenting and being a good spouse can become overwhelming. Some couples may work through them, while others get lost in feelings of anger and frustration. Uncontrolled drinking also stresses a marriage. Domestic violence is much more likely to happen when a couple deals with alcohol abuse and mental health problems.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment at Behavioral Health Centers

There’s no easy cure for alcohol addiction, but anyone can stop drinking. Enrolling at an alcohol treatment facility in Florida can set you on the path towards long-term sobriety. Behavioral Health Centers provides leisure facilities and daily chef-prepared meals, with a low staff-to-patient ratio to hasten your recovery journey. In addition, our inpatient program allows for around-the-clock supervision and care throughout substance abuse detox and early recovery.

If you or a loved one struggles with alcohol addiction, Behavioral Health Centers offers residential alcohol rehab and medical detox to Florida residents and anyone looking to take the self-recovery journey. For more information on our luxurious settings and treatment process, reach us today at 561-708-4706.

GET HELP TODAY

Don’t go through the process of recovery alone. There are people who can help you with the struggle you’re facing. Get in touch with one today.

CHECK INSURANCE

If you have coverage of any kind from a major insurance provider, your treatment is likely covered. We promise to keep your information confidential.

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