How Can Alcohol Abuse Lead To Domestic Abuse?

There is a direct link between alcoholism and domestic abuse. Consuming excessive amounts of alcohol and other mind-altering substances can directly increase a person’s risk of participating in domestic violence. 

What Is Domestic Violence? 

Domestic violence includes any abuse or violence occurring between intimate partners. An intimate partner can be:

  • A wife or husband
  • A boyfriend or girlfriend
  • Someone you have had sex with but aren’t in a relationship with (like a friend with benefits)
  • Anyone you have a child with

Domestic violence doesn’t include acts of physical aggression. The abuse between intimate partners can be physical, emotional, financial, sexual or psychological.

While many believe they’ll never find themselves in a domestic violence situation, statistics say something different. Around ten million Americans will be involved in domestic abuse during a given year. As many as one in four women and one in nine men will be victims of domestic violence at least once in their lifetime. 

What Does Domestic Violence Look Like? 

When you think of domestic violence, you probably think of one partner physically abusing the other. While this is accurate, it’s far from the whole picture. 

Physical violence can include:

  • Hitting, kicking or slapping 
  • Throwing things
  • Breaking things
  • Slamming the other partner into a wall or other surface
  • Harming the other person using an object (like a chair, bat, broom, etc.)

Emotional abuse can include:

  • Withholding love or affection
  • Threatening to kill an intimate partner
  • Threatening to kill oneself if their partner leaves or doesn’t give in to their wishes
  • Calling their partner derogatory names

Financial abuse looks like this:

  • Not allowing their partner to have a job
  • Not allowing access to household monies (including bank accounts)
  • Taking the other partner’s money, credit cards, or debit cards
  • Forcing the other partner to depend on them financially

Sexual abuse may include:

  • Coercion into sex when the other partner doesn’t want to (often using threats of physical violence)
  • Inappropriately touching oneself when their partner doesn’t wish them to (or in inappropriate situations)
  • Forcing an intimate partner to have relations with another for trade, money, or unknown reasons

Psychological abuse might include:

  • Convincing the other partner their remembrance of events is flawed (gaslighting)
  • Isolating the other partner from their friends, family and support networks
  • Convincing the other partner they’re crazy
  • Insisting the other partner is the abusive one
  • Making veiled threats or hints about revealing secrets in public

Domestic violence often starts small and grows more prominent over time. The first instance of domestic violence may be name-calling but can grow within weeks or months to sexual and physical violence. This is why it’s essential to get help as soon as possible if you find yourself in a situation where you’re being abused or are abusing your intimate partner.

What Is Alcoholism? 

Alcoholism is when a person starts drinking heavily or frequently. Generally, people begin drinking because they’re overwhelmed, feeling anxious or depressed.

The mind-numbing effects of alcohol seem to make these feelings go away. However, not feeling these problems is temporary, so people are drawn to drink again. Eventually, they become dependent or addicted to alcohol. 

What Does Alcoholism Look Like? 

All alcoholics feel a need to drink frequently, heavily and in inappropriate situations. Inappropriate situations may include school, work, church, family gatherings, or even driving. Many will drink first thing in the morning.

Other signs of alcoholism may include:

  • Losing interest in work, school or hobbies
  • Poor performance at work or school
  • Continuing to drink even when there are severe consequences (such as after getting a DUI)
  • Experiencing blackouts
  • Becoming violent, especially when they can’t drink

Another key sign of alcoholism is that the person will suffer withdrawal symptoms when they can’t drink. Withdrawal symptoms may be moderate to severe and may include:

  • Anxiety (or a worsening of anxiety-related symptoms)
  • Depression (or a worsening of depression-related symptoms)
  • Uncontrolled shaking
  • Nausea (with or without vomiting)
  • Sweating
  • Confusion
  • Seizures
  • Visual or auditory hallucinations 

Why Does Alcoholism Lead To Domestic Violence? 

Alcoholism leads to an increased risk of domestic violence because drinking alters your cognitive functioning. In other words, people who have been drinking cannot think clearly or control their emotions. Something that would be a minor inconvenience while sober may feel like a significant issue when someone is drunk.

Additionally, drinking lowers your inhibitions. A person who tends to be confrontational will be more so while drinking, which could lead to violence. A person with a codependent or controlling personality will be more so when drinking. 

In short, alcoholism causes a long-term inability to control one’s emotions or accurately determine right from wrong. Remember, this is only an explanation of alcohol’s effects and not an excuse for domestic abuse. 

Additionally, those who drink excessively often turn to other mind-altering substances. This further increases the risk of domestic violence happening.

Where Can You Get Help? 

If you or a loved one are suffering from alcoholism, the best thing you can do is get help. Only a rehab center can assist those battling alcoholism because it is challenging (and sometimes impossible) to give up drinking independently. A rehab center will have the resources necessary to help.

If you or a loved one are a victim of domestic violence, it’s essential to get help right away. If you’re in immediate danger, you should get to a safe place and call 9-1-1. If alcoholism is involved, the police can help you stay safe while also getting your abuser the help they need.

If you’re not in immediate danger, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline. You will be connected with a professional who can help you find resources in your area. 

Alcohol Abuse Increases the Likelihood of Domestic Violence

Alcoholism increases the likelihood of domestic violence because it affects a person’s cognitive abilities and lowers their inhibitions. If you or a loved one needs help getting sober, contact Inland Detox in Riverside County today.