Domestic Violence and Substance Abuse

Domestic Violence and Substance Abuse

This evening I’m on a panel of experts who are discussing the film Tyson at Stony Brook University. Tyson, is a film about legendary boxer Mike Tyson and his struggles in life. The film graphically explores Mr. Tyson’s addictions and the role domestic violence played in his relationships with women.

As an addictions and relationship therapist, I’m grateful for Mr. Tyson’s and Sony Pictures’ willingness to discuss a sensitive topic. Too many women and families live in the fear, isolation and destruction left in domestic violence’s wake. If we are to end this abuse, we must be willing to discuss it openly and provide families with a way out of the emotional and physical prisons that domestic violence and substance abuse disorders create.
Domestic violence and substance abuse disorders share a number of characteristics. These include loss of control, continuation of behavior in spite of negative consequences, obsessive thoughts, increased tolerance of the abuse, and impact on the entire family (Irons & Schneider, 1997). In addition, we think domestic violence and substance abuse doesn’t occur in nice families or neighborhoods like ours. In fact, both addictions and domestic violence are blind to economics, religion, race or social class. They occur everywhere with all too much frequency.
I look forward to my opportunity to discuss this film tonight with my colleagues. I see it as another step in eradicating the silence and secrecy surrounding these destructive disorders.

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