Intimate Partner Violence And Drug Abuse And Alcoholism Criminology Essay

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Intimate partner violence is a growing problem in our society today and is much too common. Another issue in our society is drug abuse and alcoholism. Studies have shown that with these two problems combined together, one is likely to cause the other. Why do people who claim to love and care about one another inflict pain on each other? Drugs and alcohol can affect our brains in many different ways and they affect everyone differently. However, one very common affect is increased aggression and violence. Also, increased aggression and violence can also cause an increase in drug and alcohol intake. When people get treatment for drug and alcohol abuse, does that help decrease violence in their lives?

Studies have shown a strong association between alcoholism and intimate partner violence, especially with men. When men recieve treatment for alcoholism, their violence behavior decreases. However, with women, the association wasn't as clear. There wasn't necessarily a decrease in violent behavior with women who recieved treatment. Studies have also shown that male alcoholics are more prone to cause the intimate partner violence. A specific study looked at violence by males and females in relationships with alcoholism. They measured verbal aggression, overall violence, severe violence, and the frequency of each. They hypothesized that after getting treatment for the alcoholic in the relationship, the frequency and level of violence would decrease. After getting treatment, the study found that it significantly reduced the intimate partner violence all together. They also found that male violence was more


greatly reduced after treatment than female violence. (Schumm, O'Farrell, Murphy & Fals-Stewart, 2009). This study can lead in to why alcoholism can be associated with violence and aggression, and why it seems that getting treatment helps decrease aggression and violence in relationships.

Another study that looked at only men in relationships associated with violence and alcoholism. The study showed that alcohol intake and alcoholism increased the likelihood of violence to occur in an intimate relationship. Married men in the United States who had violent relationships are three times more likely to be alcoholics. "Some explanations have focused on the fact alcohol intoxicant limits information-processing capacities and thereby decreases the ability to attend to inhibitory cues for violence." (Murphy, O'Farrell, Fals-Stewart & Feehan, 2001) Other studies have shown that personality and cognitive factors contribute to whether or not alcohol or substance abuse causes violence in relationships.

One study looked at why intimate partner violence was so common among couples experiencing drug or alcohol abuse problems. They found a causal correlation between intoxication of alcohol or drugs with intimate partner violence and how often it occurs. The psychoactive affects drugs and alcohol have on our brains seems to interfere with a healthy relationship. This study also showed that when couples received the proper treatment for their drug or alcohol abuse, their frequency of intimate partner violence decreased dramatically over


time. However on days where one partner would be intoxicated, the likelihood of the partner violence increased and occurred more frequently. The treatment the couples were given had many different aspects but did help women understand how to protect themselves from being victimized by their male partner while they were intoxicated. (Fals-Stewart & Clinton-Sherrod, 2009)

They also found that the majority of couples who received this treatment had the women as the victim of the intimate partner violence rather than the man. Most studies rarely find men as the victim of violence in a relationship. However, when a man was the victim, it is usually not from physical violence, more from emotional or psychological abuse from a woman partner. All of the men who participated in this study were previously violent with their partner before receiving treatment and may have been prone to violence in the first place. (Fals-Stewart & Clinton Sherrod, 2009)

Feingold, Karr & Capaldi found that 92% of police reports from domestic violence calls had men who had used alcohol or drugs sometime the day of the incident. These psychologists also argue that substance abuse provides a good excuse or "socially acceptable" excuse for committing violent acts because it impairs their judgment in all situations. Amphetamines have also shown to cause an increase in aggression, irritability, paranoia, and certain psychotic states. Methamphetamines have also been known to commonly cause violence, and paranoia. Cocaine


has also been studied and has shown to have mood-altering affects on the brain and also changes in violent behavior. (Feingold, Karr & Capaldi, 2008)

There are many other factors that can predispose a person to become more violent while taking drugs or drinking alcohol. Some of these factors are, heredity, antisocial behavior, personality disorders, parental transitions, stressful relationships, poor development, environments, and behavior problems. (Feingold, Karr & Capaldi, 2008)

This study looked at antisocial behavior and tested all different types of drugs in their procedure. They found that marijuana and hallucinogen drugs had the strongest association with intimate partner violence. Usually marijuana has been known to decrease aggression and violence, however in this study it increased it over all participants in relationships. This study also had all males as the substance abusers and the females as the victims in the relationship. Antisocial behavior also played a factor in intimate partner violence. When substance abuse and antisocial behavior were combined in the study, intimate partner violence increased much more than the couples without antisocial behavior as a factor. (Feingold, Karr & Capaldi, 2008)

Substance abuse and violence has always been a problem in our society and it may never go away. If we can understand violence, drugs, alcohol, and the brain better, we may be able to prevent more violence in the future. I have always been curious about why there is so much violence in relationships where people claim to care about one another and love each other. How


can we be violent with the ones we love? Is it because we are most comfortable around them, so we can show our true colors?