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Impact of Sexual and Domestic Violence on Substance Abuse and Addiction

The causes of drug and alcohol addiction aren’t fully known, but they could potentially be rooted in various factors, including genetics, family history, mental health conditions, and environmental influence.

Sadly, sexual abuse and domestic violence are two factors that may contribute to a person choosing to use substances and may lead them to eventually seek inpatient treatment. Domestic abuse counseling and treatment can help people recover from substance abuse and domestic violence.

Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse Statistics

Domestic violence and sexual abuse impact people in all demographics. Regardless of the gender, race or nationality of the victim, the trauma suffered can do long-lasting psychological harm and may be a cause of addiction.

According to various studies, victims of intimate partner violence (IPV) are 70% more likely to drink heavily than those who have not experienced IPV. Victims are also more likely to use marijuana.1 In addition to substance abuse, survivors may also experience mental health issues including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).2

Up to 50% of women seeking rehab for mental health and 25-50% of women in substance abuse treatment report IPV.3

Statistics compiled by RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network) indicate victims are largely female, with 82 % of juvenile victims and 90% of adult victims being female.4 In the United States, around 35.6% of women have experienced stalking, physical violence, or sexual assault within their lifetime in connection to an intimate relationship.3

Despite the greater impact on women, men can also be the victims of physical and sexual violence, with 1 of every 10 rape victims being male.4 Almost 1 in 10 men have experienced sexual abuse, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner.2

How Does Sexual Abuse and Domestic Violence Impact on Substance Abuse?

People who have experienced sexual abuse and/or domestic violence may suffer from depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anger, or suicidal ideations as a result.2

Ninety-four percent of women who have been raped experience symptoms of PTSD in the 2 weeks after the incident, while 30% still experience symptoms of PTSD 9 months post-incident.4

Some sexual and domestic abuse survivors may begin to use or increase their use of drugs and alcohol as a way of escaping feelings and memories associated with abuse.2,5 People who have experienced sexual assault are 6 times more likely to use cocaine and 10 times more likely to use other major drugs than those who haven’t been assaulted.4

Addiction, Sexual Abuse and Domestic Abuse

Unfortunately, the repeated and compulsive use of drugs and/or alcohol can lead to addiction, also known as a substance use disorder (SUD).8 While addiction is a chronic disease of the brain, it is also treatable.

Symptoms of Alcohol and Drug Addiction

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) categorizes SUDs with specific diagnostic criteria, and the way a SUD presents in a person will vary. Diagnosis of a substance use disorder should only be done by a medical professional, but the following criteria may help you identify a potential SUD in yourself or others. If you or a loved one has experienced 2 or more of these criteria in a 12-month period, you may need to seek help for a substance use disorder:6,9

  • Uncontrolled substance use
  • A need to increase the dose to achieve the same effect
  • Withdrawal symptoms after not taking a dose
  • Participation in dangerous activities while under the influence (e.g., drunk driving)
  • Preoccupation with getting and using a substance
  • Continued use of drugs or alcohol despite the negative impacts on one’s life
  • Negligence of responsibilities at home, school, or work
  • Legal or financial trouble related to the addiction (e.g., DUI tickets)
  • Problems in relationships because of substance use
  • Attempts to hide the signs of drug or alcohol use
  • Changes in appetite and appearance
  • A sudden gain or loss of weight
  • Unexplained and sudden mood changes or disorder
  • Tremors, slurred speech, or bloodshot eyes

People struggling with drug or alcohol addiction should seek help as soon as possible. If domestic abuse or sexual violence has occurred, participating in an alcohol or drug treatment program at an addiction and domestic violence recovery program or sexual abuse rehab may help a person recover.

American Addiction Centers has helped thousands recover from addiction and we can help you or your loved one too. Check your insurance to find out instantly if your insurance provider may be able to cover all or part of the cost of rehabilitation and associated therapies. You can also sign up to 24/7 text support for addiction questions at your convenience, contact us for free at .

Tips for Choosing Substance Abuse and Domestic Violence Treatment Centers

Domestic violence and sexual abuse are sensitive subjects for many. Survivors may feel guilt or shame and may be reluctant to get treatment as it might bring back painful memories or triggers.5

Finding a substance abuse rehabilitation facility that specializes in recovering from domestic violence or that has specific programs to treat people who have experienced sexual violence may help a person feel more comfortable and lead to better treatment outcomes.

You may be wondering, ‘where can I find domestic abuse treatment centers near me?’ When looking at types of treatment programs for sexual abuse, domestic violence and drug and alcohol abuse, the most important aspect is that treatment is tailored to meet the individual’s needs. Additionally, you may want to ask the following questions:7

How to Find Domestic Violence and Addiction Rehab Centers Near Me

If you or a loved one is ready to seek rehab for a substance use disorder, American Addiction Centers (AAC) is here to help 24/7. You may be looking for inpatient addiction treatment or outpatient drug abuse rehab treatment. Perhaps you are looking for a treatment center that specializes in inpatient rehab for domestic violence and substance abuse and you are wondering, ‘where can I find domestic abuse treatment centers near me?’

Call day or night for free at to speak with one of our caring admissions navigators. They understand the struggles of addiction and can help you understand treatment options—from from detox to 28- or 30-day stays, 60-day stays and 90-day rehab stays—and find domestic violence rehab programs near your location. We can also check your insurance for any of our AAC facilities so that you can get into treatment today.

Insurance Providers That May Cover Domestic Violence Rehab Programs

Learn more about rehabilitation treatment with these insurance providers:

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