“Substance Use Coercion” and Abuse: Know The Signs, Save a Life

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and even though a bright light should always shine on this topic, this month we take a look at the facts and devastating statistics surrounding the issue of substance use coercion and intimate partner violence (IPV).

Intimate Partner Violence 

Historically called “domestic violence,” intimate partner violence is a serious public health problem that affects millions of Americans. Whether married, dating, or living together, this type of violence can occur among heterosexual or same-sex couples and does not require sexual intimacy. IPV includes four types of behavior (and several types can occur together) including physical and sexual violence, stalking, and psychological aggression. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 1 in 4 women and nearly 1 in 10 men have experienced IPV during their lifetime.

What is Substance Use Coercion?

Research shows that IPV can cause lasting physical and mental health problems for survivors such as injuries from abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, and the use of substances to cope with the physical and emotional pain of abuse. Victims also report being forced into using drugs or alcohol by an abusive partner who wants to exert power and control. Whether the substance use is forced or not, when the person is ready to seek help for their drug or alcohol addiction an abusive partner can try to sabotage their recovery efforts – this is called substance use coercion.

In 2012, the National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma and Mental Health (NCDVTMH), in partnership with other national mental health organizations conducted a substance use coercion survey and found more than 60% of those who sought help for substance use said their partners tried to hinder treatment. Common coercive tactics may include efforts to:

Getting Abuse Help and Addiction Treatment

If you are experiencing substance use coercion or any other form of abuse by your partner, it may seem impossible to escape or find the help you need, but it is possible. For anonymous, confidential help, 24/7, please call the Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY). Once you find a safe way to get help for IPV but are still battling addiction, the next step is to begin the road to recovery. Those in an abusive relationship sometimes report being forced into using drugs or alcohol or they develop mental health issues which can lead to a substance use disorder. Either way, these victims are dealing with co-occurring disorders and need specialized addiction treatment. Daylight Recovery Services offers inpatient drug treatment, to help those living with co-occurring disorders. If you or someone you love is ready to start down the right path to sobriety, contact Daylight Recovery Services today at 1-833-2DAYLIGHT.