Drug Addiction, Alcohol, and Emotional Abuse

Unfortunately, the correlation between alcohol and emotional abuse is a significant one. It can go both ways too. In many cases, a person dealing with emotional and mental abuse will turn to drugs and alcohol as a way to get away from it all. It’s important to be aware of this connection between alcohol and emotional abuse. 

This may be a temporary coping mechanism; however, it can often lead to a substance abuse issue or addiction. On the other side of things, there are many cases where a person who is currently suffering from an addiction lashes out at family members or loved ones. When this happens with those who live in the same home, it can often result in mental or emotional abuse. Fortunately, Harmony Place helps patients heal these wounds. 

What is Mental Abuse?

To put it simply, mental abuse occurs when the abuser behaves in a way that will result in the person being abused feeling worse about themselves or like a lesser person. The abuser might behave or act in a way that results in the abused feeling like they aren’t good enough. They also may gaslight a victim to have them second guess or question themself. 

In the case of a partnership or marriage, the abuser might behave or act in a way where the abused might feel as if they aren’t actually important to their partner anymore. It’s a particularly painful experience that may make the abuser’s partner feel unloved.

Some common examples of mental abuse include:

  • Bullying
  • Verbal abuse
  • Being overly critical
  • Mental manipulation
  • Passive aggressiveness
  • Backhanded compliments
  • Gaslighting or causing doubts
  • Making unreasonable demands
  • Expecting the other person to sacrifice their own wants and needs

When someone has discovered that they are the victim of mental abuse, they tend to do one of two things. Some will identify that they are being abused and leave immediately. Others though will recognize that they are the victims of mental abuse and stay. Some will confront the person who is abusing them, but many more will cope with the abuse in unhealthy ways such as turning to drugs and alcohol.

What Kind of Toll Can Mental Abuse Take on the Body?

Mental and emotional abuse can take a very destructive toll on the overall mental health of the person who is being abused. The worst part is, the majority of the time, the person doesn’t even realize they are being abused until it is too late and their mental health deteriorates. That’s because most mental and emotional abuse occurs in a way where it might not be blatantly obvious.

Why People Tolerate Emotional Abuse 

Victims of emotional abuse might assume that their partner’s behavior is simply part of a relationship, especially if they grew up in an abusive home. Many also don’t want to admit to themselves that they are being abused as they are fearful of the possible repercussions associated with confronting their abuser. 

Feelings associated directly with the abuse combined with these feelings of fear or anxiety associated with confronting the abuser can lead to significant mental health issues. Mental health issues may occur such as anxiety, depression, or even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

What is the Connection Between Mental Abuse and Addiction?

The development of these mental conditions as a result of mental or emotional abuse can often lead victims down a path to addiction. The person who is suffering from abuse is now suffering from these mental health conditions and is simply looking for some temporary relief in order to feel better or simply just forget about what is going on for a little. 

Many victims of abuse struggle with fear, embarrassment, discomfort when it comes to talking about their experience. The idea of speaking to someone about what is going on can be overwhelming. Instead, individuals suffering abuse may turn to drugs and alcohol for relief. Once they realize that these substances make them feel better, they might turn to them more often.

While on the surface this might seem innocent enough to the victim, in many cases it can lead to the development of a substance abuse issue on top of serious mental health issues. When this happens, it is known as having a co-occurring disorder.

Abusers Suffering from Addiction 

On the opposite side of that, it’s not uncommon for the person who is doing the abuse to also be suffering from some sort of substance abuse issue or mental health disorder as well. Many of the side effects associated with various substances of abuse can lead to the abuser lashing out, behaving in ways that belittle those who are around them. 

This is especially true when the abuser is experiencing withdrawal symptoms such as irritability. When someone is suffering from addiction, their only goal and priority is their next fix and they will get that next fix by any means possible, even if it means neglecting or abusing those around them such as a partner, spouse, or children. 

How Can I Stop the Abuse?

Even after someone realizes that they are the victim of abuse, it can be very difficult to end it. That’s why so many turn to drugs and alcohol. Unfortunately, this can lead to a substance abuse issue. Also, if the abuser catches wind of that, it can give them even more leverage to continue the abuse. 

Abusers can withhold drugs or alcohol as a way of punishment or even provide it as an incentive to get victims to stay and continue being abused. If you fear you are the victim of emotional or mental abuse, it’s important not only to identify it but also to do everything in your power to stop it in a healthy way. 

Recovering From Mental Abuse

The first thing that you need to do is to set boundaries. While it might be uncomfortable, you need to confront the abuser and tell them that the things they are doing and the ways they are treating you are simply unacceptable. Once you do this, it is crucial to stick to this, or else they won’t take you seriously.

 If they continue to behave in an abusive manner, simply walk away when they begin to act in ways that you aren’t ok with. Do not acknowledge or react to their abusive behavior. Abusers want power and control so if you walk away you aren’t giving that to them. 

It’s also important to remember that you can’t control other people’s behavior. You also aren’t responsible for those behaviors. What you can control is the people you associate yourself with. If it gets to a point where none of your methods are working, it might be time to cut ties with the abuser and leave.

Healing from Addiction to Alcohol and Emotional Abuse 

Developing a substance abuse issue can be a result of abuse. You’re already dealing with the pain and suffering of being mentally or emotionally abused. Now, the substance or substances that you thought were making you feel better are actually making things worse. Thankfully, help is available for treating both the substance abuse as well as many mental health issues that might have developed as a result of the abuse.


The first thing to do is to go to detox. Professional detox treatment is key to recovery because without getting rid of all those harmful substances your body and brain cannot begin the recovery process. 

Detoxing should be done under the care and supervision of trained medical professionals at either a medical facility, a dedicated detox center, or a treatment center that also offers detox services such as Harmony Place. Attempting to self-detox can be dangerous and life-threatening. 


After detox, the next step is to enter either an inpatient or outpatient treatment program. This depends on what your treatment professional recommends for you and your needs. Therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), and psychotherapy can help treat those suffering from both a mental health condition and substance abuse.

Find Freedom From Alcohol and Emotional Abuse at Harmony Place

Mental abuse and addiction are a dangerous combination. That’s why it’s so important to get help for not just one issue but both simultaneously. Unfortunately, mental health and addiction have a very close connection. This is why so many people who are the victims of abuse develop a substance abuse issue.

If you or someone you know is suffering and could benefit from treatment, contact us today to learn about our treatment options and how we can help you start the healing process.