Anxious Drinking AlcoholThere are various factors that can contribute to domestic violence.

Like so many things, there is rarely a single cause. However, the more we learn about the factors that may contribute to domestic violence and other assaults, the better equipped we will be to limit these occurrences in the future.

According to a team of researchers at the Centers for Disease for Control (CDC), the number of liquor stores and other purveyors of alcohol in the neighborhood (e.g., bars, restaurants, grocery stores that sell liquor, etc.) may contribute to the number of domestic violence incidents. The US Department of Health and Human Services says that the results of the analysis of 16 studies done by the CDC suggest that regulating the number of places where alcohol is sold in a particular area may serve to help decrease the rate of domestic violence cases.

It’s not just how many locations sell alcohol that factor into the equation, according to the CDC review published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. Also considered were:

  • Hours of the day that alcohol sales are allowed
  • The price of alcohol
  • The taxes associated with purchasing the alcohol

Of these different factors, the only thing that correlated with rates of domestic violence was the number of alcohol purveyors in the community, after factors like unemployment and poverty levels were taken into consideration. The review did not find a cause-and-effect connection but rather an association between the two.

Dennis Reidy is a behavioral scientist at the CDC. He said: “The studies that we reviewed do not indicate that alcohol outlet density or the outlets themselves cause partner violence. However, our findings suggest that local regulation of alcohol outlet density may be able to reduce rates of intimate partner violence within a community.”

Should the government begin to regulate how many liquor stores or bars are open and selling alcohol at any given time in different communities?

Lower Rates of Binge Drinking = Lower Crime Rates and Alcohol-Related Problems

The idea that government regulation can cut down on the rate of binge drinking and alcohol abuse in the community and therefore reduce the rates of alcohol-related crimes has been acted upon by a number of states and communities across the country. Different places utilize different methods but some of the most common include:

  • Licensing laws: Making it more difficult to secure a license to sell alcohol (e.g., requiring the approval of a certain percentage of nearby neighbors or requiring high application and renewal fees) may stop some people from wanting to sell alcohol.
  • Zoning laws: Requiring that similar businesses be a certain distance apart or that no more than a certain number of bars or other alcohol purveyors be allowed licenses within a certain area can limit access to alcohol.
  • Alcohol taxes: Higher alcohol taxes have been shown to limit alcohol sales and in turn cut the rates of binge drinking. States with the highest alcohol taxes have the lowest rates of binge drinking and vice versa, according to a report published in the journal Addiction.
  • Operational regulations: Limiting the hours that a purveyor of alcohol can be open or allow alcohol for sale (e.g., no alcohol sales after 2 am or no alcohol sales before 11 am) serves to limit access to alcohol. Additionally, holding the seller of alcohol responsible for the events that befall the person after drinking at their establishment has had a positive effect as well.

Unfortunately, the CDC review found that domestic violence rates were only impacted by the number of alcohol sellers in a community and not any of the other factors, but the other factors do impact binge drinking rates. Lowering rates of binge drinking can lower rates of other alcohol-related crimes like assault, DUI, and others.

Binge Drinking: Red Flags

tab02Binge drinking is practically normal in the United States – but the fact that it’s normal does not make it healthy or safe. About one in six Americans reports binge drinking an average of four times per month. A binge drinking session is defined by ingesting about four drinks for women and five drinks for men in about two hours – but the average American who binge drinks ingests about eight drinks during a binge.

This habit is not without its costs. About 90,000 alcohol-related deaths occur every year, and about half of those are linked to binge drinking. Car accidents caused by driving under the influence; becoming the victim of assault or homicide; contraction of a deadly disease like HIV through unprotected sex; and the development of heart disease, certain cancers, and liver problems including liver failure – these are just some of the issues driving this statistic.

How can you tell if binge drinking is putting you or your loved one at risk? Some red flags include:

  • Experiencing acute health problems frequently as a result of drinking (e.g., experiencing a high rate of colds and illnesses)
  • Experiencing mental health symptoms like depression or anxiety that worsen during or after drinking sessions
  • Blacking out while under the influence (e.g., being unable to remember what happened while you were drinking)
  • Driving while under the influence for any reason
  • Experiencing legal problems due to your behavior under the influence
  • Experiencing chronic health problems that continually worsen due to your alcohol intake

If you experience any of these issues and you are unable to moderate your alcohol intake on your own, treatment services can help.

If You Are the Victim of Domestic Violence

If you are being hurt by someone in your family, you are not alone. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, an estimated one in three women and one in four men have experienced violence at the hands of an intimate partner at some point in their lives. If you are in need of assistance or just want to talk, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 today.