As the coronavirus pandemic continues, nearly all 50 states have instituted emergency measures. Many have asked their residents to stay at home until the pandemic has passed. However, as more people stay inside, domestic violence cases have surged.
These tense times appear to be worsening rates of domestic violence, as well as increasing stress and alcohol consumption. With this, violence in the home can lead to a higher risk of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance abuse issues. While the pandemic continues for the next few weeks and months, it’s critical to ensure everyone feels safe in their homes and has ways to escape situations of domestic violence due to alcohol abuse.
The Link Between Stress, Alcoholism, and Domestic Abuse
Nearly 55% of domestic violence incidents involve alcohol. This is partly due to a complex relationship shared between stress, alcohol consumption, and domestic abuse. Stressful times can cause a person to feel emotionally and physically overwhelmed. Many may try to use alcohol as a type of self-medication to numb feelings of stress. For those who commit acts of domestic violence, chronic alcohol abuse may lower their inhibitions and exacerbate violent tendencies. As survivors of domestic violence, alcohol may serve as a way to numb emotional and physical pain.
Alcohol abuse can lead individuals into situations of domestic violence and make it difficult for survivors to leave these situations. The COVID-19 pandemic is hard for many people; even if you manage to avoid sickness, the disruption of your daily routines or economic insecurity can cause significant stress. It’s also worth noting that sales of both alcohol and firearms have increased. Since firearms tend to be the main cause of death in incidents of domestic violence, this trend is deeply worrying.
Preventing Domestic Violence During the Pandemic
Since the pandemic has caused people to reconsider traveling, many domestic violence survivors may find themselves trapped. The high stress, alcohol consumption, and daily disruption caused by the coronavirus appears to have created a perfect storm. However, there are ways that those at risk of being survivors of domestic violence can protect themselves.
Domestic violence hotlines have led the charge and adapted their strategies to the realities of the coronavirus lockdown. While physically escaping from abusive partners and relationships can be difficult due to travel bans, experts recommend keeping a journal of abuse incidents for protection down the line. Individuals should also avoid small areas such as kitchens or bathrooms as much as possible, where they may have difficulty escaping if a situation turns violent. Sleeping in a car is another recommended strategy until you are able to leave your home and stay with friends and family.
Treating Alcoholism and Trauma in Domestic Violence Survivors
The pain, hurt and suffering survivors go through may also cause feelings of shame. Because of this, it may be easy for them to turn to alcohol to numb the emotional and physical pain of their domestic abuse. However, this creates a pattern of problematic drinking which increases a person’s risk of developing an alcohol use disorder (AUD).
But there is help out there for survivors of domestic abuse including domestic violence hotlines that can assist individuals in finding safety, solace, and healing. Treatment for alcohol abuse and alcoholism can also help address not just problem drinking, but the underlying trauma that may have led to excessive alcohol use. Additionally, if your partner is ready to seek treatment for alcoholism, their path to sobriety may be the change needed to ensure a safer environment for you.
Along with alcohol recovery programming, individuals can benefit from private and group therapy and counseling services in order to fully understand the impact of this chronic disease. Therapy sessions will work to rebuild self-esteem and self-confidence, and teach healthy coping mechanisms that do not require the use of alcohol. Many facilities also offer gender-based treatment programs in order for patients to feel safe and understood among their peers.
If you’re in immediate danger, call 911 immediately, your safety should be your top priority. Once you’re ready to address problem drinking or a potential alcohol addiction, our admissions navigators are available 24/7 at 1-888-685-5770 to discuss your treatment options today.