Substance Abuse Due to Abusive Relationships

Substance Abuse Due to Abusive Relationships

An abusive relationship is often characterized by excessive use of power and control over another person, it could be between friends, couples, or siblings. Abuse can be physical, but it can also take the form of verbal, sexual, financial, emotional, or any other kind of control-wielding conduct. To find relief, many victims turn to substance abuse due to their abusive relationships.

The United States’ National Statistics Domestic Violence Fact Sheet confirms that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men experience severe intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner contact sexual violence, and/or intimate partner stalking with impacts such as injury, fearfulness, post-traumatic stress disorder, use of victim services, contraction of sexually transmitted diseases, etc. In addition, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner. This includes a range of behaviors (e.g. slapping, shoving, pushing) and in some cases might not be considered “domestic violence.

Coping Attempts

Constant physical, sexual, verbal, or emotional abuse in a relationship cause the victim to develop depression, anxiety problem, and other mental disorders. The victim may subsequently utilize harmful coping mechanisms, such as substance misuse, to “self-medicate.” Such co-occurring disorders can aggravate underlying disorders and lead to toxic interpersonal relationships.

As a result of abusive relationships, many victims seek comfort in drugs, such as tranquilizers, sedatives, and painkillers or hard drugs. Such substances can help ease physical and emotional pain and cope with stress, as well as manage fears of future abuse. Usually, this occurs after victims develop posttraumatic stress disorder or no one will listen to them.

The process of finding appropriate coping techniques can be very difficult for victims of abuse; therefore, they may turn to substance abuse to cope. Reports show that victims of sexual assault are 3.4 times more likely to use marijuana, 6.4. times more likely to use Cocaine, and 5.3 times more likely to use prescription drugs.

One should be aware of the red flags of an abusive relationship. These include over-controlling behavior, using insulting words with the partner, public harassment, possessiveness, and jealousy.

Steps to Treat Abusive Relationships Linked with Substance Use Disorder

  1. In an abusive relationship, taking solace in substances is common and is part of the process, however the first step towards recovery is to leave the relationship. Leaving the relationship is always characterized by fear, especially if it is a sexual one, but your bold step will increase your chances of success with treatment.
  2. Getting medical care is crucial to alleviating pain and preventing the use and misuse of adverse substances. This helps to minimize depression, anxiety, and fear.
  3. The best thing anyone can do is participate in a healthy support group. This is someone who knows what’s going on, is willing to help and walk the journey with them, and who is also able to provide the necessary support. In addition, joining positive and forward-thinking communities can help victims overcome and triumph.

If past traumas are getting in the way of living your best life, do not hesitate to seek further evaluation and treatment.  Well Coast Medical has mental health specialists that are ready to help, so call us at (833) 931-1716 to learn more when you are ready to take your first step towards healing.

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