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Domestic violence is otherwise known as intimate partner violence. It includes:
An intimate partner is someone with whom you have or had a close personal or sexual relationship. Both genders experience domestic violence. However, it mainly affects millions of women annually in the United States.1
Domestic violence commonly co-occurs with substance use disorders like alcoholism.
However, no real research suggests that alcoholism directly causes domestic violence. Research shows a higher number of assaults that result in injury are caused by men who drink heavily. However, most men classified as heavy drinkers don’t abuse their partners.
Also, many physically abusive incidents don’t involve alcohol. Alcohol isn’t the cause of violence but can impact crimes such as domestic violence.
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The link between domestic violence and alcohol is complex. Men dependent on alcohol or drugs are 6 or 7 times more likely to be involved in domestic abuse against women than others.2
Some theories suggest that substance abuse may be a way for some people to try to justify their behaviors.3
For example, some abusers might say they can’t control their behavior because they were drunk. Many abusers don’t become aggressive or lose their temper because of alcohol. However, drinking can aggravate their actions.3
Likewise, the amount of alcohol a person has before committing abusive behaviors is usually one or more drinks. Therefore, alcohol may be linked to domestic violence through drinking alone rather than being intoxicated.3
Alcohol influences a person’s behavior because it shifts their perception of reality. But it doesn’t cause their behavior.3
In some cases, the desire to engage in sexual violence may cause alcohol consumption to justify behavior.
Alcohol can impact people’s judgment, perception, and ability to process what’s happening. This can mean that drinking may increase the chances that someone will misinterpret another person's actions. As a result, they may overreact or act out.
An abuser may also experience a heightened sense of power or control over another person when they drink. This could increase the risk of violent behavior.
Couples may also have conflict over the abuser’s drinking problem, which could contribute to violence.
Here are some other common alcohol-related crimes.
Some of the most common alcohol-related crimes involve drinking and driving.
In 2020, there were 11,654 deaths in motor vehicle traffic crashes in which at least one driver was under the influence of alcohol. This totaled 30 percent of all traffic deaths in the United States for the year.4
Any amount of alcohol in the bloodstream can affect driving ability. The effects of alcohol use vary greatly and can put people at risk of causing an accident or highway injury.
Safe driving requires proper concentration and the ability to make good judgments and react quickly. However, alcohol affects these skills, placing people in danger.
Many cities in the United States have also seen a steady increase in property-related robberies and crimes linked to alcohol use.
Alcohol can enhance a robber’s desperation and motivate them to steal someone’s money or property. While some robbers want a better lifestyle or want to make some quick money, others can turn into repeat offenders.
The consequences of stealing from someone are harsh. They may lead to:
There are various ways for domestic violence survivors and people experiencing an alcohol abuse problem to receive help.
A domestic violence survivor can benefit from a therapist specializing in domestic abuse. Therapy can educate the person about the appropriate interactions in a relationship.
Talk therapy can also teach people how to communicate concerns if they feel:
If a domestic abuse survivor wants to return to their violent partner, they must seek advice on staying safe.
Courses are also available to domestic violence survivors to help them avoid repeating the cycle of abuse. Often, violent behavior is learned or modeled.
Women’s shelters are also available for survivors of domestic violence throughout the United States. There are also some men’s shelters.
Seeking professional treatment is the best way to beat an alcohol use disorder (AUD).
There are various recovery programs available to help people quit drinking. Often, they provide different types of therapy for other underlying conditions that may trigger an alcohol problem.
For example, those that become violent or aggressive after drinking may benefit from professional help with their anger management skills.
Treatment professionals may also recommend different activities to help people relax, including:
Recovery doesn’t occur overnight. It takes commitment, even after you leave rehab. However, plenty of ongoing recovery programs can help you maintain sobriety and live a happy and healthy life.
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