Statistics from year to year have always seemed to indicate that there is a correlation between domestic violence and substance abuse. There is a great amount of documentation relating to domestic violence and domestic abuse and its correlation to alcohol abuse or substance abuse. It is beginning to become apparent that this goes both ways that the alcoholism can cause the domestic violence and that the domestic violence can cause the alcoholism.
Alcoholism Associated Violence
- People who are already participating in domestic abuse against another may turn to alcoholism in an attempt to stop causing abuse.
- Someone who is drinking heavily may become violent when they are “set off.”
- Someone who is abusing alcohol may turn to violence when a loved one tries to stop them from drinking or tries to acknowledge their drinking problem, in a violent defense mechanism.
- People who are being abused domestically may turn to alcohol as a means of coping.
- People who already fall into the habit of committing domestic violence may fall upon substance abuse as their excuse for violence in order to create the possibility that they can stop.
- People who are already participating in domestic violence against another person may turn to alcoholism in order to deal with the same inner demons causing the domestic abuse in the first place.
Alcohol Counseling and Domestic Abuse Therapy
According to an article released by Reuters Health in February of 2013, heavy drinkers who are currently in treatment for problems relating to domestic violence may benefit significantly from additional therapy sessions targeting their alcohol abuse specifically. This is because it is believed that these additional treatment sessions will speed up the patient’s overall improvement in their violent behavior, at least according to a recent study.
Alcohol is capable of lowering inhibitions as well as impairing judgment, and it can cause a lot of different changes in the personality. According to Gregory Stuart from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, alcohol can cause people to narrow their focuses to negative aspects of their environments and this can lead to impulsive behavior, which can then lead to violent behavior toward the self and others.
Men who are arrested on domestic violence charges typically have to attend group educational sessions, which are known as batterer programs. However, these programs do not always address the problems with alcoholism, even when the statistics show that many domestic disputes involve alcohol abuse.
Research in the past has proven that these programs are often ineffective for abusers who are also dealing with drinking issues. Stuart’s research team decided to take this past research as a foundation, then decided to test whether or not there would be a change for people that went through an additional therapy session which was only devoted to alcoholism, in terms of their drinking issues and violent behaviors as well.
The Trials – The research trial involved 252 men arrested in the state of Rhode Island for domestic violence or violence against a partner they were intimate with, provided that they had reported experiencing binge drinking at least once monthly. Binge drinking is characterized as having five drinks or more in an occasion. All of the members of the trial were attending the standard court-mandated battery program, which involved 20 2-hour sessions or a total of 40 hours’ worth of group educational programs. Half of the men also attended a 90 minute substance abuse session one on one with a therapist.
The men completed a survey regarding their behavior three months, six months and 12 months following their treatment program completion. Additionally, researchers gathered police reports relevant to each of the study participants, analyzing data for participants with intimate partners.
On average, all the men participating indicated that they had overall violence levels that were lower after a year. Participants who underwent the additional alcohol counseling seemed to have a greater improvement in their violent tendencies.
The group who went through the alcohol intervention was drinking less per day by the time they reached the three month mark, and they were drinking less often overall by the time they reached the six month mark. By the end of the 12 month mark, however, the numbers seemed to be on par in terms of partner violence in both groups, meaning that the results were short term rather than long term in nature.
Domestic violence and alcoholism are both serious problems that require you to get help when you are struggling with them. If you or someone that you know is struggling with either alcoholism or a domestic violence problem, now is the time to call for help. The right resolution is out there for you in the form of a domestic violence treatment program or an alcohol abuse treatment facility.