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Substance Abuse

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Domestic Violence and Substance Abuse Treatment - Posted at 09:42 on 18/12/2015 by alcoholdeto

Every 15 seconds a woman is subjected to domestic violence in the United States. Domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of abusive behavior that is used to gain or maintain power and control in an intimate relationship, such as marriage, dating, family, friendship or living together. Anyone can be a victim or perpetrator of domestic violence.

Keeping this in mind, we will be focusing on male batterers and female survivors of domestic violence since this is the "typical" scenario and will be seen most often in treatment facilities. We will discuss substance abuse in both the batterer and the survivor.

When most people think of the relationship between substance abuse and domestic violence they picture an alcoholic husband beating his wife, and while this is one case, it is most certainly not the only. This case suggests a direct correlation between substance abuse and the occurrence of domestic violence. However, most studies show that while they are linked the relationship is not that straightforward.

The problem with directly linking the two issues together is similar to problems in dealing with co-occurring disorders (dual diagnosis) in that the question that is most often debated is which one came first, the drinking or the violence. Even though according to the U.S. Department of Justice study reports that 61% of domestic violence offenders also have substance abuse problems, we must remember that the violence may not necessarily be a consequence of the substance abuse and that the substance abuse could be a result of the violence. However, as with co-occurring disorders, it is imperative that we address both issues and not focus too much which came first.

Substance abuse in the batterer is what most people will think about when alcohol abuse and domestic violence are mentioned together so we will discuss this first. The characteristics of a batterer are very similar to the characteristics and risk factors you would find in substance abusers. These characteristics include: witnessing parental violence, parental substance abuse, corporal punishment, depression, socioeconomic hardships and an intense need for power and control.

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