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Domestic Violence and Substance Abuse


The purpose of this audio is to illustrate the causation and any correlations between domestic violence, substance abuse and substance dependence, which may lead to an inability for someone to control their behavior in spite of adverse consequences, for example physical injuries, financial problems, legal problems and any impact on family relationships. For example: divorce or custody matters. Substance abuse can be a factor when placing blame on others, denial, minimization, and cycles of escalation, followed by broken promises to change, among many other indicators.


Substance use (by the perpetrator, the victim or both) is involved in as many as 92% of reported episodes of domestic violence.1 Alcohol frequently acts as a disinhibitor, facilitating violence. Stimulants such as cocaine, crack cocaine and amphetamines are also frequently involved in episodes of domestic violence by reducing impulse control and increasing paranoid feelings. Alcohol use seems to be involved in up to 50% of the cases of sexual assault. Violent married men have higher rates of alcoholism when compared to their non-violent counterparts.2 Studies report rates of alcoholism of 67% and 93% among wife batterers.3 Among male alcoholics in treatment, 20 to 33% reported having assaulted their wives at least once in the year prior to the survey, their wives reporting even higher rates.4 The American Medical Association5 reports that rape represents 54% of cases of marital violence. Rape and other forms of victimization are disproportionately frequent among women with substance use problems in comparison to other women in the general population. Substance use may also be involved in domestic violence in more subtle ways, such as arguments over financial matters (for example the substance user takes money from the spouse, or diverts money that should be used to pay household bills and instead uses the money to buy drugs).6,7


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(c) 2021 Christopher Meyer Law Firm, PLLC All Rights Reserved The information on this video is for general information, entertainment and educational purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney client relationship Please call (281) 845-2472 if you have any questions about this disclaimer.


1. Brookoff D, O'Brien KK, Cook CS, Thompson TD, Williams C. Characteristics of participants in domestic violence. Assessment at the scene of domestic assault. JAMA. 1997;277(17):1369-73.

2. Dinwiddie SH. Psychiatric disorders among wife batterers. Compr Psychiatry. 1992;33(6):411-6.

3. Bhatt RV. Domestic violence and substance abuse. Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 1998;63 Suppl 1:S25-31.

4. Gondolf EW, Foster RA. Wife assault among VA alcohol rehabilitation patients. Hosp Community Psychiatry. 1991;42(1):74-9.

5. American Medical Association Diagnostic and Treatment Guidelines on Domestic Violence. Arch Fam Med. 1992;1(1):39-47. Erratum in: Arch Fam Med. 1992;1(2):287.

6. Smith JW. Addiction medicine and domestic violence. J Subst Abuse Treat. 2000;19(4):329-38.

7. Braz. J. Psychiatry 27 (suppl 2) • Oct 2005 • https://doi.org/10.1590/S1516-44462005000600004



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