Researchers continue to learn how gender differences affect the cycle of addiction and the treatment that is rendered in response. What works for men doesn’t necessarily work for women, and vice versa.
The River Source offers a women’s-only treatment program that addresses the needs of female addicts. While addiction affects men and women equally, we are always amazed to see how different the journeys can be. Women tend to face unique barriers to treatment such as the stigma of being an addict and also having families to care for.
Let’s take a look at seven interesting facts about the patterns of substance abuse in women. All data has been collected from the following article from the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.
The Gender Gap is Narrowing
Relationships Affect Abuse and High-Risk Behavior
Women Progress Faster to Addiction
Biology Makes a Difference
Females Tend to Drink in Response to Stress
Pregnant Women Most Commonly Seek Care For Methamphetamine Use
Women Are More Likely to Use Prescription Opioids Than Men
Traditionally, more addicts have been men than women, but the gender gap is getting smaller across all ethnicities and ages. This reminds us that addiction can affect anyone – there are no boundaries.
Women are more likely to be offered or given drugs from a boyfriend than a friend or family member. Marriage, on the other hand, is a protective factor. Also, high-risk behavior is dependent on the relationship.
In many cases, women progress to dependency faster than men. A variety of factors contribute to this, but the biggest is that many women who abuse drugs and alcohol also suffer from PTSD or other mental disorders.
Aside from the fact that women’s bodies are generally smaller than men’s and contain more fat than water, there are also hormones to consider. Studies have shown that a woman’s menstrual cycle can affect how she reacts to alcohol and stimulants.
The motives for using alcohol are often different for men and women. Women are more likely to drink because of stress or negative emotions rather than to conform to a group or create positive emotions.
One study pointed out that the number of pregnant women seeking care for methamphetamine abuse rose to 24% in 2006. In 1994, the numbers were at just 8%.
Two large studies indicated that women are more likely to engage in the non-medical use of prescription drugs than men, particularly for younger women, ages 12 to 17.
If you or a loved one is struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, we encourage you to call The River Source and learn more about our women’s-only treatment program. Your call is confidential, and we can help determine if this female-focused approach is the right fit. At the very least, it’s somewhere to start.