What is Abuse?
Drug use issues in abuse survivors – Abuse is an epidemic that is all too common around the world. Whether the abuse is from an intimate partner, an adult to a child, or adult on adult abuse, it is scary and damaging. While abuse is well known for causing physical injuries, it is also known to cause mental issues. These situations are so damaging that even one instance of abuse can affect mental health. If abuse is occurring on a regular basis, the chances of a mental health disorder are almost inevitable.
There are several types of abuse that will be reviewed. These include:
- Physical abuse
- Mental abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Child abuse
- Child neglect
- Adult abuse
- Financial abuse
These will be addressed in some detail throughout this article. But before specifics are offered, it should be noted that abuse of any type and substance use disorders are highly correlated. While it may not directly be caused by abuse, the resulting mental illnesses and issues can often lead to substance use disorders.
Physical abuse includes any type of physical harm to another person. Physical abuse is often combined with other types of abuse when long term. Physical abuse can include:
- Kicking, slapping, punching, hitting, strangulation, burning
- Using weapons on another person (guns, knives, etc)
- Forcing a person to use drugs or other substances
- Controlling another person’s medication or the receiving of medical care
Those who are physically abused may use drugs to deal with the pain of the abuse or to get through the abuse mentally. Forcing the use of drugs is also a part of physical abuse for some. This references unwanted drug use.
Mental abuse, also sometimes called emotional abuse, is when a partner or friend uses mind games to control a loved one. There are numerous tactics that are often used and include:
- Degradation and undue fear
- Isolating a person or refusing to let them leave
- Humiliation or shame
- Showing extreme jealousy
- Blaming a person for everything
- Name calling and insults
These mental games make the other person feel worthless or bad about themselves, while the abuser gains power. Mental abuse may not be easy to recognize at first. However it can cause extreme damage and emotional issues. Those who are mentally abused may turn to drugs and alcohol to escape their reality. They may even use drugs as a way to commit or attempt suicide.
Child Abuse and Neglect
Child abuse and neglect are obviously directed at children, but have been included because those who are abused or neglected as children are at an increased risk for drug and alcohol abuse later in life. Child abuse can include sexual, psychological, and physical mistreatment of a child, while neglect refers to various forms of lack of certain activities as it will be described. Both abuse and neglect are both given or withheld to cause pain to the child and tends to come from the parents or caregivers. Signs and symptoms include:
- Beating, hitting kicking, slapping, choking, strangling, burning
- Hair pulling, shaking, throwing, dropping, biting, scratching, pinching
- Forcing the child to eat or swallow dangerous things (spices, soap, cleaners, etc.)
- Abandoning or leaving children alone for long periods
- Keeping a child from attending school
- Not providing support or nurture
- Refusing medical care
- Not meeting basic needs (healthy food, safe environment)
- Not offering proper supervision, often resulting in injury
Adult abuse or elder abuse is typically done by family members, but any caregiver may be at fault. Just as many children are relatively helpless, older people can be helpless and susceptible to abuse of all types. This form of abuse may appear as:
- Inflicting pain or physical restraint
- Causing humiliation, emotional trauma, or degradation
- Withholding or taking funds without permission
- Nonconsensual sexual contact
- Withholding medication or basic care
While this type of abuse occurs later in life, it can still lead to substance abuse issues. For older people who need care this may take the form of overuse and abuse of prescription medication or attempted suicide by overtaking medication or self-injury.
Financial abuse is specifically related to money. It can mean withholding money necessary for survival or causing someone to lose their job as a form of control. This can keep a person dependent on another. A few examples are:
- Hurting a partner so they cannot go to work
- Harassing a loved one at work
- Controlling all household finances
- Deliberately causing a credit score to decrease so the person cannot take out loans
While this type of abuse may not cause a person to use, it can damage them mentally, eventually leading to drug abuse or alcoholism.
Bullying is usually related to children and is mean or aggressive behavior that involves being overpowered in person or online. This typically happens on a continual basis and creates an environment of fear, often at school. This can involve stuff like:
- Calling someone names, pushing, hitting, ridicule
- Posting online about the other person
- Inciting others to pick on the person
Even though bullying typically involves children, it can lead to addictive behaviors as the children want to fit in or forget they are being singled out and turn to drugs or drinking.
As many people who have been abused in some way end up with mental illness or turn to drug abuse to escape the abusive situations, seeking help is important. While intensive therapy can help with the mental abuse issues, in-patient rehab is the best and most effective option for substance abuse issues that may be related. The River offers an in-patient program of varying lengths to help deal with addiction issues. Located in beautiful Thailand, The River is a top-rated rehab in Southeast Asia. Using an approach that addresses the mind, body, and spirit, The River helps you or your loved one overcome drug abuse addiction with great success. If you are ready to get the help you need and deserve, call The River to get started as soon as possible.