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Why addiction and abuse go hand in hand


How does addiction start, why does somebody feel the need to drink or take drugs? The main reason is many people wish to desperately change something in their lives. Some of these reasons include:


  • To try and escape a bad experience and the memory of that experience, trauma or stress.
  • Peer pressure, the person wants to fit in
  • To rebel or even experiment
  • Some even drink alcohol or take drugs to relax
  • Depression or mental health issues


Even if your circumstances are difficult turning to drugs or alcohol will only worsen the condition and cause a whole set of new problems. These problems can affect your personal health and the relationships with those around you. In the case of domestic violence, it has been found that those who commit the violence have been either drinking or taking drugs. The use and addiction of drugs or alcohol is not one sided, those being abused are also at a higher risk of turning to the use of alcohol or drugs themselves.


Some of the facts about addiction and abuse:


  • Those who are addicted to and abuse alcohol are at a much higher risk of displaying violent behaviour. This is especially true with people who suppress their feelings and emotions. Those who are angry and drink to the point of intoxication can lose control of their pent up anger.
  • Many times those who physically abuse others while on drugs or drunk may inflict even more harm than normal.
  • Many of those who become addicted are victims themselves of childhood abuse
  • Treatment alone for addiction will not cure the abusive behaviour.
  • Some reports reveal that a high percentage of domestic violence cases are related to alcohol or drugs.
  • A very high percentage of suicides and other violent crimes can lead back to the use of drugs or alcohol.
  • Many addicts are not violent, but may want to hurt themselves more than others.
  • It is important to note that certain addictive substances may have different effects on different people. Certain drugs can actually affect a person’s brain to trigger aggressive behaviour.
  • Many of the more highly addictive drugs or even alcohol can lower a person’s impulse control, which may lead to abusive behaviour and even sexual assault or rape.


Those who are the victims of abuse can involve married couples or partners, parents, children, siblings and relatives. Somebody who drinks and gets drunk often and then displays violent abusive behaviour may even blame the alcohol for their actions. This way they avoid taking responsibility for their abusive behaviour. The cycle of addiction and abuse needs to be stopped; otherwise it can carry on into the next generation. Studies have shown that many of the children who witness or experience the abuse, are at a higher risk of landing up in an abusive relationship themselves when they grow up. The child, of course, is also more likely to develop an addiction themselves.

The Most Common Behaviour traits of an addiction:

  • Lies. An addict may lie to cover up their use of drugs
  • Manipulation
  • They may even be committing crimes to get money to buy drugs
  • Avoiding the responsibility
  • Becoming abusive


Click here for 5 Common behaviour traits of an addict.


If you know somebody who may be addicted, learning to recognize the physical changes and also the behavioural changes can help to prevent the problem from progressing to further destructive consequences. The way to break the cycle of addiction and abuse is to seek professional help. With the help of rehabilitation and support, the addiction and abusive behaviour can be dealt with. There are many rehabilitation centres out there that can offer help, make that first step towards recovery.





  • Awareness and primary prevention services;
  • Early intervention;
  • Treatment centres;
  • Reintegration and after-care support;
  • Integrated programmes with the Departments of Education and Health as well as Local Drug Action Committees of Local Authorities;
  • Co-ordination with partners, eg. NGO sector;
  • Standardising professional and management best practices;
  • Facilitate diversion programmes with the Social Crime Prevention Unit as a means of intervention with the youth at risk.



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