Serenity Point Rehab Discusses Link Between Addiction and Violence During National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

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Abusive relationships often start in adolescence, but the cycle can be broken.

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In this high-tech world, demeaning, insulting or inappropriate texts and social media messages are often part of the pattern of an abusive relationship.

February, the month of St. Valentine’s Day, is often thought of as the month of love, but it is also Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (Teen DV Month). Alcohol and drugs may play a role in increasing the likelihood of violence in relationships. Through education, young people can learn what healthy relationships look like and break the cycle of abuse.

“One in three women and one in four men have been the victims of [some form of] physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime,” according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV). In Michigan, in a single day, domestic violence programs provided services to nearly 2,500 victims/survivors (2014 figure). Each year, Michigan police respond to about 100,000 domestic violence reports.

When an issue has such a tremendous impact on the community, law enforcement, and public resources, it deserves closer examination.

In many cases, the cycle of relationship abuse begins in adolescence. Unhealthy relationships or patterns of behavior that being in teen years can last a lifetime.

“Among high school students who dated,” the CDC reports, “21% of females and 10% of males experienced physical and/or sexual dating violence.”

Dating violence can also be psychological/emotional in nature. In this high-tech world, demeaning, insulting or inappropriate texts and social media messages are often part of the pattern of an abusive relationship.

The educational focus with young people is about speaking up, to get help as needed. Slogans like, “Love is Not Abuse” and “Love is Respect” serve to educate young people about what healthy love looks like.

Healthy decision-making skills also involve understanding responsible choices about substances. Teens who consume alcohol may be more likely to both be abused and do the abusing. What’s more, the age at first use of alcohol may be a key factor in later addiction. So teaching young people to steer away from alcohol use may prevent both addiction and abuse.

Fortunately, drug addiction numbers among young people are on a decline, overall, but among those who do use illicit drugs or abuse prescription medications, intimate relationships that include violence may be at higher risk.

By getting armed with the facts and educating the young people in Michigan communities, residents can help break the cycle of domestic violence in Michigan.

To learn more about drug or alcohol addiction and treatment, call 1-855-218-3775 or visit the Serenity Recovery website: http://www.serenityrehab.org

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Derry Hallmark
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