Does Addiction Really Affect Women Differently?

Willow Place on February 3, 2020
Does Addiction Really Affect Women Differently?

When it comes to addiction, many people wonder how it affects those who suffer from it. The truth of the matter is that substance use impacts people in different ways for various reasons. For example, sometimes, the way alcoholism affects one person can be completely different from the way it affects someone else. Often, addiction’s effects vary depending on factors such as age, the type of substance being used, and how frequently a person is using the substance. However, what about gender? Do drug abuse statistics show any difference between how addiction affects women and men?

The Facts: An Overview of the Shift in Drug Abuse Statistics

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), men are more likely to dabble in the world of illicit drug use. In fact, a large number of drug-related overdoses and deaths involved men. But, as NIDA mentions, women are just as likely as men to become dependent on a substance. Also, women may be more susceptible to relapse than men. This report also states that research shows that women and men generally use drugs differently. Also, men and women respond to substance use differently.

NIDA examines the types of substances that people use, explaining how common they are among men and women. For example, the report states that men are more likely to use marijuana than women. Also, females have a higher sensitivity to stimulant drugs than men. (It’s possibly because of the high levels of estrogen in women.) As a result of this sensitivity, women are more “vulnerable to the reinforcing (rewarding) effects of stimulants,” as the report states.

When it comes to drugs like heroin, men are more likely than women to inject it. Also, women may use smaller amounts of heroin than men. Substances like ecstasy and Molly have a slightly different effect on women than it does on men. In many cases, these drugs cause hallucinations to occur. But, these hallucinations may be stronger in women than in men.

U.S. News states that it’s likely for women to become addicted to prescription painkillers faster than men. The same article says that women usually develop dependencies much quicker than men. Female individuals also tend to have more severe addictions than men when entering a treatment program.

Addiction, Women, Statistics, and Treatment

Drug Abuse Statistics: Does Addiction Really Affect Women Differently?Once upon a time, people used to think that men were more likely than women to develop an addiction. They were actually correct. But, times are changing and addiction statistics are changing right along with them. The margin is becoming much smaller as more and more women become dependent on drugs and alcohol. As of 2017, it was estimated that about 4.5 million women had a substance use disorder.

One of the most popular changes in women’s addiction statistics is the “wine mom” movement. Many women are turning to alcohol use in order to cope with the stresses of motherhood. They’re engaging in a “wine mom” culture that encourages excessive alcohol use and may even lead to problems that relate to alcoholism.

With that being said, it’s definitely worth noting that women tend to develop substance use disorders for different reasons than men. For instance, stress and anxiety often occur in the lives of women. Higher levels of pain and frequent hormonal changes are also very common in women. Also, sexual abuse and physical abuse are, unfortunately, often reported among female individuals. These may be reasons why women turn to drugs and alcohol.

About Gender-Specific Treatment and Its Importance

Since women and men are clearly different in the way they develop and respond to substance use problems, it’s important for them to receive treatment that focuses on their needs. Addiction is a complex and serious disease. It’s best to treat it as such. So, women who are looking for help in overcoming drug or alcohol abuse should seek help from a gender-specific program. These types of rehab programs are designed to meet the specific and unique needs women may have when working through recovery. While other kinds of programs may be helpful, gender-specific care offers a deeper and more focused approach to treatment. This can definitely increase the likelihood of a successful recovery for women who are struggling with addiction.

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If you or a woman you know could use some help in gaining true freedom from addiction, we’re here to help! At Willow Place for Women, we understand the needs of the women who come to us and we offer an individualized approach to rehab and recovery. You don’t have to wait any longer to move forward with your life. Contact us today by calling 1-888-651-4212 and begin your journey to a new and healthier version of yourself!

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If you or someone you love is battling substance use, mental health, or eating disorders, please feel free to contact one of our trained admission specialists today. All calls are free and completely confidential. While we know that suffering from a severe and life-threatening substance use disorder or a mental health issue can, at times, seem insurmountable, we sincerely believe that every woman is capable and deserving of the opportunity to recover. Reaching out is the first step – give us a call today and we will gladly walk you through the process of beginning your beautiful, fulfilling journey of recovery.

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