What Is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is intentional physical, emotional, or sexual harm inflicted on one member of a household by another. This act can occur between partners, parents, and children, or even siblings. Incidents of domestic violence can be either singular or ongoing, but two-thirds of all domestic violence cases consist of multiple incidents. The overwhelming majority of domestic partner abuse cases involve men abusing women. Domestic abuse is also unfortunately common among adults and elderly relatives.
The Domestic Abuse and Addiction Correlation
Unfortunately, where there are domestic violence problems, there is often also the presence of alcohol and drugs. According to the United States Bureau of Justice Statistics, 43.6% of domestic abusers have substance abuse problems.1 Alcohol abuse in particular appears to be one of the leading risk factors in abuse among domestic partners. In fact, it is estimated that about two thirds of all domestic violence incidents involve alcohol.2
Without a proper alcohol detox and treatment, this behavior may only get worse. Children also commonly bear the brunt of an addicted loved one’s domestic abuse with nearly 80% of all child abuse cases involve the presence of drugs and/or alcohol.3 Unfortunately, domestic violence is a learned behavior that is often passed down from parent to child. These children may carry this behavior into their adult lives and become abusers themselves.
Domestic Violence and Addiction Treatment
The relationship between addiction and domestic violence can form in multiple ways. One example of this is when alcoholics and drug addicts create an atmosphere of battery and abuse in their home. Another example is the relationship that exists between substance abuse and the trauma associated with experiencing domestic violence. The exact treatment will vary depending upon whether the patient is a victim or perpetrator of domestic violence.
At our drug and alcohol treatment center in Palm Beach, we provide domestic violence and addiction treatment to help end the cycle of domestic violence in the lives of our patients by rehabilitating abusers and victims while treating their drug and/or alcohol problems.
Treatment for Victims
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 25% of all women experience rape or physical assault of some kind throughout their lives.4 These women often feel trapped because they are physically intimidated by their abuser or have become financially dependent on them and cannot provide for themselves or their children alone. Unfortunately, many of these women suffer in silence and go on to develop substance abuse issues due to their inability to properly cope with the trauma. In some of the most severe cases, the abuser serves as a supplier of drugs or alcohol to the victim, creating an even more intense attachment. Additionally, children who experience domestic abuse are at a much greater risk for latent drug or alcohol addiction, especially is they do not undergo trauma treatment.
In addition to treating their immediate chemical dependency issues, we provide mental health treatment in Palm Beach to empower our domestic abuse patients through a full scope of trauma-relief therapies including Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), psychodrama therapy, group counseling, and family of origin therapy. Domestic violence victims often lack the confidence and independence to leave their abusive situation, therapy is designed to help them gain the confidence and tools they need to lead healthy lives.
Treatment for Abusers
When discussing domestic violence, it’s important to point out that current abusers are sometimes past victims. For this reason, it’s critical that they receive treatment to help them cope with their past abuse before any real work can begin. Once they’re able to successfully and rationally confront their abusive past, usually through a series of trauma therapies, they are treated for their current anger issues as well as their substance abuse.
The initial patient assessment is crucial in gaining an honest and complete understanding of the abuser’s history. Very often, shame and embarrassment prevent patients from telling the full story about their abusive past. We provide a non-judgmental atmosphere and focus on addressing a patient’s dysfunctional past to improve their future.
Addiction and domestic abuse are linked in more ways than one. Recovering abusers are taught anger management techniques to help them avoid relapse, while victims learn ways to ease the fear and anxiety associated with their trauma. Patients will apply the coping tools they learned in domestic violence and addiction treatment to sustain their recovery.
Domestic violence doesn’t have to rule or define your life. At Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches, we strive to help our patients heal and rebuild their lives so that they can rise above their past and move forward. Let our South Florida detox center help you get there.
Stop the cycle of addiction and domestic abuse in your home and family. Contact Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches at (888) 432-2467 for comprehensive domestic violence and addiction treatment.
- U.S. Department of Justice- Family Violence Statistics
- National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence – Educational Resources
- U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health- Preventing child abuse and neglect: programmatic interventions
- SAMHSA- Trauma and Violence