Alcohol Use Linked to Domestic Violence

While all links are not necessarily causal relationships, the close association between two conditions often warrants attention. Such is the case when it comes to alcohol use and instances of domestic violence. Alcohol use does not cause domestic violence, but the fact that it is so often present when domestic violence takes place deserves attention.

There are many reasons why some say that alcohol use is the cause of violence in the home. Men who batter their wives on a regular basis frequently use drinking as an excuse for their wrong behavior. They would not have resorted to physical harm if they had not been drinking, they say. In a similar way, men who have wives that drink often use that as an excuse for their own heavy-handedness - they need to use force in order to control their drunken wife. In both cases, the husband uses alcohol as a way to shift blame and responsibility away from himself. Statistically speaking, most domestic disturbance events are somehow associated with alcohol consumption. The presence of alcohol in situations where two people are in a heated disagreement does not help to soothe things over.

Alcohol's connection to domestic abuse likely exists for a couple of reasons having to do with how even a small amount of alcohol works in the human body. First of all, alcohol impairs the normal function of the brain's judgment and decision-making region. This means that drinking hinders a person's ability to think coolly and rationally. Imagine how misunderstandings and misperceptions occur under the best conditions when two people are at odds. Now, consider what those arguments would be like when one or both persons are not able to reason clearly.

Secondly, alcohol lowers a person's natural inhibitions. Self-control is compromised when a person drinks alcohol. For some people, this may mean foolish behavior, but for others the removal of natural restraints means that if a sudden surge of anger takes hold, it may explode in any direction. This is not to say that the person is not responsible for their outbursts, only that unpredictable behavior becomes more likely in the presence of alcohol.

A person does not need to be addicted to alcohol or even drunk at the time in order for alcohol to contribute to domestic violence. Even a little drinking can produce the results described. Compromised judgment and lack of self-control are not the cause of violent disturbances, but certainly make them more likely to occur. A person is ultimately responsible for how they handle marital disagreements as well as for their own drinking behavior. Alcohol may not directly cause domestic violence, but it can help set the stage.

Posted on January 7th, 2013
Posted in Substance Abuse

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