Addiction in Women
February 17, 2017

What to Know About Women and Addiction

Every three minutes a woman goes to the emergency room for prescription painkiller misuse or abuse. While statistically fewer women suffer from drug addiction than men, women face many unique issues when it comes to substance abuse. Due to genetic differences between the sexes, women tend to respond to substances differently, become addicted more quickly, suffer stronger cravings, and have a higher likelihood for relapse. Additionally, gender-specific reasons for drug abuse such as controlling weight, fighting fatigue, and self-medicating mental health problems are more common.

Effects of Addiction in Women

Addiction scientists have found that women use substances differently than men. They are more likely to become addicted to a substance quickly and after ingesting smaller amounts than men. Women are also more likely to mix various substances. Though less women struggle with drug addiction than men, they tend to progress more quickly from using an addictive substance to developing a dependence on the substance.

Women are more likely than men to receive prescription opiates, perhaps in connection with higher rates of chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia. Women also have higher rates of mental illness, including depression and anxiety, which are commonly linked to self-medication and drug abuse. These conditions also make it less likely for women to seek treatment for their condition.

Research has shown that women develop medical and social consequences of addiction faster than men. Because of genetic differences between men and women, women who use drugs tend to experience more physical effects on their heart and blood vessels, and end up in the emergency room more frequently than men.

Treatment for Addiction in Women

When it comes to seeking treatment, women face many unique barriers. They are afraid of losing their children, becoming separated from their families, or ostracized from the community. Many women live in denial of their condition and view their substance abuse as a social activity or habit, rather than a life-disrupting addiction. Additionally, many women with substance abuse issues and mental health disorders, or co-occurring disorders, are in denial and seek treatment for their mental health while ignoring their addiction.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, don’t hesitate to get help today. A New Start, Inc. specializes in addiction treatment and dual diagnosis treatment. Our skilled therapists and clinicians offer a wide variety of therapies including 12-Step, Trauma, Family Systems, Cognitive Behavioral, as well as Individual and Group Therapy Sessions. To learn more about treatment with A New Start, Inc. please call 1.844.TALK.ANS.

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