Domestic Violence and Substance Abuse Treatment

Every 15 seconds a woman is subjected to domestic violence in the United States. Domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of abusive behavior that is used to gain or maintain power and control in an intimate relationship, such as marriage, dating, family, friendship or living together. Anyone can be a victim or perpetrator of domestic violence.

Keeping this in mind, we will be focusing on male batterers and female survivors of domestic violence since this is the “typical” scenario and will be seen most often in treatment facilities. We will discuss substance abuse in both the batterer and the survivor.

When most people think of the relationship between substance abuse and domestic violence they picture an alcoholic husband beating his wife, and while this is one case, it is most certainly not the only. This case suggests a direct correlation between substance abuse and the occurrence of domestic violence. However, most studies show that while they are linked the relationship is not that straightforward.

The problem with directly linking the two issues together is similar to problems in dealing with co-occurring disorders (dual diagnosis) in that the question that is most often debated is which one came first, the drinking or the violence. Even though according to the U.S. Department of Justice study reports that 61% of domestic violence offenders also have substance abuse problems, we must remember that the violence may not necessarily be a consequence of the substance abuse and that the substance abuse could be a result of the violence. However, as with co-occurring disorders, it is imperative that we address both issues and not focus too much which came first.

Substance abuse in the batterer is what most people will think about when substance abuse and domestic violence are mentioned together so we will discuss this first. The characteristics of a batterer are very similar to the characteristics and risk factors you would find in substance abusers. These characteristics include: witnessing parental violence, parental substance abuse, corporal punishment, depression, socioeconomic hardships and an intense need for power and control.

Despite the difficulty of finding an exact cause and effect relationship between substance abuse and domestic violence, experts have organized batterers into three categories in order to improve their treatment. The first category is “Typical Batterers”. Typical batterers are characterized by keeping the violence they inflict in the home, which will be less severe when compared to other batterers, and are usually not substance abusers. They will also most likely have no history of legal troubles, mental illness and will usually be remorseful for the violence. The second category is “Antisocial Batterers”.

The characteristics of the antisocial batterer include being extremely abusive, having some mental health issues, may be a substance abuser and will most likely have difficulty completing domestic violence program without being provided additional services. The third category is “Sociopathic Batterers”. The characteristics of a sociopathic batterer include being the most extremely violent, heavy substance abuse, tremendous difficulties in treatment programs, little or no empathy for others, no remorse for the violence inflicted and the most likely of the three categories to have had legal issues.

Treatment for a batterer with a substance abuse problem can be much more difficult than the already difficult treatment for a person with just a drug or alcohol addiction problem. The most common model for batterer intervention is the Duluth Model. The Duluth Model is a behavioral change model that seeks to alter the batterer’s behavior by confronting his denial, his need for power and control and helping him realize his alternatives to the violent behavior. This model is a community-wide model that involves many people including law enforcement which ensures that the batterer will be arrested while the survivor is protected.

Like I said above, when most people think of substance abuse and domestic violence they only think of the addiction in the batterer. However, survivors of domestic violence are also likely to present in treatment programs with drug or alcohol problems. In fact, in 2002, the Department of Justice reported that 36% of survivors in domestic violence programs also had substance abuse problems.

Again, there is no direct cause and effect relationship between a survivor’s addiction and the domestic violence although it is commonly thought that the violence increases the likelihood that a survivor will abuse alcohol or drugs. While this may not be the case for all survivors with drug or alcohol problems, both the domestic violence and the addiction have an extreme impact on the survivor’s recovery from both and the treatment provider needs to be aware of this.

When a client presents for substance abuse treatment and reports a history of domestic violence, especially a recent history, there are several steps that a treatment provider should follow. First, the provider should make sure that the client is in a safe environment and that they understand that while they are at the facility they are safe. Second, the provider should never doubt the survivor’s story, even if there are discrepancies. If a client feels they cannot trust the counselor or provider they will leave treatment and put themselves back in dangerous situations. Finally, during the assessment the provider should identify the client’s options and the perceived benefits and consequences with each option and then have the client work on a safety plan. This will involve the client and make them feel involved in their treatment and encourage them to stay and feel as though they can accomplish their goals. One of the most important things to remember when working with survivors is that their safety, both physical and emotional, is the most important obstacle in the initial stages of treatment to be addressed. If it is not addressed immediately the likelihood of the client staying in treatment is very low.

Domestic violence and substance abuse are separately two of the most devastating issues in American society today, but combined they are significantly worse and more attention needs to be paid to the relationship and treatment of the two. It is vital to properly screen and assess clients as soon as they present for substance abuse treatment so the next steps of the treatment provider will be the correct ones. There are many resources available on domestic violence and addiction including SAMHSA TIP 25, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Tennessee Association of Alcohol, Drug & other Addiction Services, and Women’s Rural Advocacy Programs.

The Facts About Substance Abuse Treatment

Entering a substance abuse program is the best way to overcome your drug or alcohol addiction. Your program may be versatile, understand that you may need to detoxify and then enter a rehab treatment or alternative program. Making the decision to get help is not a temporary fix for your problem; however by changing your habits and behavior and the way you think about drugs and alcohol, it can be a step toward a new life that offers freedom from drug and alcohol abuse and addiction.

You May Need Detox

Depending on how much substance abuse you have; how long you have been using and the frequency of your use, you may need to enter a detox program before you go to a rehab treatment or alternative program. Detoxification will clean your system of the toxic chemical from your drug or alcohol abuse. Most doctors agree that medical detox is the best option for many drug and alcohol addicts, with IV therapy medical detox being the most preferred.

IV therapy medical detox allows the medication to be changed as the withdrawal symptoms change for an immediate effect. The patient remains comfortable throughout the process, which allows them to stay and complete the detox. Patients who attend this type of program are more likely to be successful in sobriety than individuals that use other programs.

Residential or Non-residential

A substance abuse rehab treatment program or an alternative program can be a non-residential program and a residential program. The accord is that residential programs seem to be more effective because they offer the individual a place to get away from the stress of everyday life and to rest and learn how to have a life that does not include alcohol and drug abuse. Further, the programs that seem to obtain the most success are the ones that build self-confidence, while inspiring hope and helping the individual plan for their future.

There are non-residential substance abuse rehab treatment programs that implement medical detox in the program. Most of these require that the individual also participate in a 12 step program such as A.A., N.A. or one of the other types that traditional 12 step offers. The individual would self-report to the doctor’s office or medical facility to receive medication to help with the detox and then report to the rehab for the meeting. The benefit to this type of program is that the individual can continue their daily routines while they are getting treatment.

The Program Philosophy is Important

Issues to consider in substance abuse treatment may be linked to the type of program: residential or non-residential, but also the philosophy of the program should be thoughtfully considered. If the program teaches that you have an incurable disease and that you are going to fail in your efforts to have a life that is free from substance abuse; you might want to reconsider the program. You want a program that will give you support and encouragement in your new life and not a program that will give you a feeling of defeat, use labels and judgments.

A New Life

Regardless of the method that you choose to use, the important thing is that you are ready to get the help that you need and you are closer to beginning your new life, free from drugs and alcohol abuse and addiction.

Flexible World of Treatment Facilities That Effectively Cure Substance Abuse

Treatment facilities are areas where relief and medication are offered to address the needs of those who are on the stage of quitting alcohol or substance abuse. Different methods vary depending on the services as offered by the professional staffs in the rehab facilities. Patients may choose whatever special programs they may prefer and what will best suit their needs. If in such case like an incoming patient may want to seek the advice of the professional on what type of program to choose, a proper assistance is always at hand for them. A good guide is a key for better recovery.

Outpatient treatment program

This is a type of service that gives flexibility to a patient because of the convenience in choosing his preferred time to visit the rehab center. The ability to go back home after a program is a preference for those who are busy cultivating their careers and maintains a regular commitment to their work. After a session of rehab, patients can go back to their own places and must maintain the honesty in abstaining from any substance, drug or alcohol. This is rather challenging and requires a great amount of discipline. If everything went properly including the full cooperation of the patient to abide all the required actions in the outpatient treatment program, the cure for substance abuse is claimed.

Residential treatment program

This type of service focuses on the isolation of the patient from his environment so he can feel the comfort and safety of the facility itself. This is done voluntarily and it is always in the patient’s main interest to choose such service. Through residential programs, professional staffs have more ease in accessing the patient’s vital stats and daily activities, hence a more intensive monitoring is provided. Substance abuse prevention programs often recommend this type of program because of the convenience and benefit it could offer for both the professional staffs and the client. Security and safety are all the more provided by substance abuse rehab facilities due to the nature of its environment where privacy is practiced thus giving anonymity of the client. Treatment typically lasts for a minimum of 1 month. In rare cases, some patients who have been in an outpatient treatment programs still seek the residential treatment program due to some shortcomings on their part which made them incompletely fulfill the outpatient program.

With options such as Outpatient or Residential treatment program, substance dependents are always free to choose whichever they think is more comforting or convenient on their part. The flexibility that Substance abuse rehab facilities offer gives patients the freedom and convenience that best suits their needs. For those who wants to balance their work while attending a program, they can choose the outpatient treatment programs. This gives them the flexibility to go home after a rehab session and get back to their career. On the other hand, if isolation from the outside environment is preferred, the residential service is the best option since this gives the client a more intensive attention. Both services are devoted to a main goal, cure and treatment of substance dependency.

Substance Abuse Programs – Why Opt for a Substance Abuse Program?

Substance abuse in USA and Canada is already recognized as a serious problem that shatters millions of families and lives every year. Shannon who now does time in a Utah County Jail, mentioned to a Salt Lake City newspaper “I was living well” before an addiction to a painkiller overturned her life. “I hurt my back, and that’s where it all went downhill,” says Shannon.

Shannon had hurt her back and was required to undergo various surgeries before she could improve. The doctors had told her that she will have to take regular dosages of Pain killers in order to make it through the physical therapy. Shannon was a recovering Meth addict and was initially hesitant to take the pills however the doctors convinced her anyways. The painkillers did take her mind of her back pain however did a far worse damage than her injure inflicted on her. They destroyed her marriage and very soon she also went back to abusing Crystal Meth.

Stories like Shannon’s are getting more and more common these days with the FDA declaring that prescription drug abuse is now responsible for 5% of all those who go in for substance abuse programs. Alcohol today accounts for 40 % of all those seeking rehab help, while drug abuse (Meth, Marijuana, Heroin etc) accounts for the remaining 55 %.

An Inconvenient Truth

Almost always addicts will attempt to separate themselves from “the real addicts” by coming up with excuses such as – “I only drink a few times a week” or “I only do marijuana just for the kicks, I am not addicted to it or anything”, others might say that they are not real drug addicts because they do not use injections. In these cases it is abundantly clear that they are simply making excuses to get around an inconvenient truth that they in fact need help.

Choose to lead a better life

If you feel that people around you have started avoiding you or have been actively trying to point out that you have an issue then it is time that you sat up and took notice. This goes for those who have an abusing partner or friends as well. Substance abuse programs are there to help and will allow you or your loved ones to lead a better life in a few short weeks time.

The goal of a substance abuse program is to ensure that you (or a loved one) never return to the rehab center.

Call up 888-749-0064 to talk to an expert to learn more on how you can deal with your addiction issues.