Addiction thrives on distress, anxiety and pain. Domestic violence encourages the emotions that lead to chemical dependency, as well as co-occurring mental disorders that affect both the victims and perpetrators of this kind of abuse.
Psychological Effects for Victims of Domestic Violence
Domestic violence has enormous psychological implications for the victim including the following:
- Feelings of guilt and personal responsibility for the abuse
- Denial that her loved one has a problem and defensiveness about finding help
- Fear, stress and deep emotional anxiety that may become debilitating
The high brought on by drug and alcohol abuse directly impacts the reward center of the brain. This is the same part of the brain that manages psychological functions directly associated with experiencing abuse. The reward center also governs the following activities:
- Anxiety management
- Impulse control
- Behavior reinforcement (habits)
Substance abuse provides quickly passing relief from negative emotions and feelings of anxiety and distress. The brain will crave this relief in a very strong, psychological way and will use every mental trick at its disposal to keep the relief coming.
There is also always a risk of serious or even chronic physical pain as a result of abuse. People may resort to prescription painkillers and may become addicted as a result.
Addiction Risks for Instigators of Domestic Violence
The perpetrators of domestic abuse are also at heightened risk for chemical dependency. Their actions either cause or indicate a wide range of psychological disorders including the following:
- Feelings of guilt or remorse
- Impulse control disorders
- Inability to control emotions
- Anxiety disorders
In many cases the same emotional or psychological characteristics that allow them to raise a hand against their loved ones also opens them to chemical dependency.
Treatment for Victims and Perpetrators of Domestic Violence
Long term recovery and is available if people know where to look. Specialized treatment centers offer help for addicts and those with behavior control disorders. The programs draw from a wide array of therapeutic tools, including the following:
- Strategic counseling to teach victims and instigators to manage their feelings and actions
- A thorough diagnosis of any co-occurring psychological disorders that may be driving the behavior
- Medically supervised detox
- 12-step programs
- Introduction to healthy new activities
- Support group meetings and classes
- Spiritual care