Domestic Violence & Substance Abuse: The Link Explained

Domestic Violence & Substance Abuse: The Link Explained

Substance use disorders can cause or exacerbate many problems, such as domestic violence (also known as interpersonal violence or IPV). The COVID-19 pandemic only makes things worse. 

According to one study of domestic violence in Memphis under COVID-19, while the number of reported cases of domestic violence is down, death and severe injury due to domestic violence is up. The apparent disparity is because people in a COVID-19 lockdown have fewer opportunities to escape–or destinations to escape to–and safely report domestic violence.

Domestic violence happens with or without COVID-19. A more significant comorbidity is a mental illness, especially substance use disorders: drinking to excess, using legal prescriptions other than as prescribed, and/or using illicit drugs. That makes domestic violence and substance use disorder a case of co-occurring disorders or dual diagnosis.

According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), between 40% and 60% of domestic violence incidents also involve substance use disorder. Women (85% of domestic violence recipients are women who experience domestic violence are 70% more likely to use drugs or alcohol. Of men who commit acts of domestic violence, 20% use drugs or alcohol. 

Domestic violence needn’t be physical violence. Emotional violence can be worse in some ways. Either one can cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), akin to what a returning combat veteran experiences. This also can lead to substance use disorder and addiction. 

In the long term, the best way of coping with addiction, plus other mental illnesses and domestic violence is dual diagnosis treatment in a substance use disorder rehab. There, clients can learn cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) coping skills to train themselves to respond to stress and triggers healthily without using alcohol or opioids. 

CBT can also help domestic violence assailants learn not to use verbal or physical abuse (or drugs and alcohol to cope with their stress. 


  • – The Pandemic Within the Pandemic: An Explosion of Domestic Violence
  • – Mental disorders and intimate partner violence perpetrated by men towards women: A Swedish population-based longitudinal study
  • – Dual Diagnosis: a Different Approach to Recovery
  • – Intimate Partner Violence and Co-Occurring Substance Use Disorder/Addiction
  • – Does online cognitive behavior work?
  • – An organization committed to eliminating domestic violence

Are alcohol and drugs ruining your life?

We have taken the necessary precautions to minimize the risk of exposure and transmission of the Coronavirus to those in our treatment programs, allowing them to focus on their recovery.

Find Help Now

Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance use disorder, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

COVID-19 Questions and Concerns

Do not allow COVID-19 to stop you from seeking the care you need. We are here to answer your questions and alleviate any concerns. Call us today.

Not sure how to Pay for Treatment?

We are always here to help. Contact Us and start your healing today

Look what Willow Springs Recovery has to Offer You

View Our Facility

Talk with one of our Treatment Specialists!

We are always here to help. Contact Us and start your healing today

Beat Your Addiction-Have an Intake Expert Reach out to you