Women are as likely as men to develop substance use disorder when it comes to prescription drugs. In other areas of drug use, they are less likely for various reasons. Gender differences women face can come from looking at a woman’s overall health and how this impacts substance use. The reasons women use substances are different than men and the way they recover also differs. Find out more about how women respond to trauma, stress, and the impact of treatment on their recovery.
Women drink socially with friends, with work colleagues, and because they find it relaxing. There is a mom culture focused on ‘wine-o-clock,’ after kids are in bed and the house is quiet as a place of peaceful rest after a long day. Not every woman that drinks casually is going to drink to excess or find herself addicted. There are many other reasons women use alcohol to self soothe or to cope with anxiety, stress, mental health issues, and traumatic pasts. Their systems don’t process alcohol the same as men’s do, so it takes less alcohol for them to actually feel the effects. Their lower level of enzymes makes them absorb it at a faster rate. With this in mind, women may drink more than men before they realize they have had too much.
Stimulant drugs have been used by women for a long time to suppress appetite and help lose extra pounds. Methamphetamines, cocaine, and Adderall are examples of stimulants women use to help them lose weight. Stimulants cause metabolic changes that shift their energy, as well. Methamphetamines are claimed to help people be more productive at work and in taking care of kids. The challenge of using these drugs is the long-lasting side effects. One of them is an addiction to the drug after tolerance builds over time. Drug dependence can have destructive consequences for women, especially given they are typically caregivers of other family members and minor children. Women suffer far more from stimulant abuse than men.
Xanax and Valium
Prescription depressants are used by women for many reasons. They calm anxiety, ease stress and help women get a better night’s sleep. When women take care of a home with kids, work, and do other caregiving duties, it takes a toll after a while. The relaxation effect women feel seems helpful at the time, but tolerance can build into addiction eventually. This can take over a woman’s life and keep her from being able to negotiate her life effectively. Taking prescription depressants too much can cause withdrawal symptoms, which may endanger her life. Without seeking help, a woman is putting her life at risk to use them.
Vicodin and Oxycontin are just a few of the prescription opioid drugs being used by women. They are more likely to experience physical health issues that cause chronic pain because of opiate use. Prescription painkillers are addictive. A person can develop a dependence on these drugs in about two days. Women are likely to experience things like withdrawal, health complications, and life consequences as a result of using opiates too much. Commonly abused drugs are being taken by women more than men in some cases. Women often have chronic pain, trauma, and issues they have not addressed like mental health challenges that keep them using opioids to cope. After addiction takes hold, they are no longer in charge of their bodies to decide when to stop. They need detox and treatment to help them get off the drugs safely, without risk to their health. Young women, under age 18, are also at higher risk of using prescription drugs either because their friends use them or they find them at home. Anxiety, stress, and pressure are higher than ever for young women and sexual assaults or violence against them may force them to try something sooner to deal with these issues than seek help.
Getting Help for Addiction
Women’s only treatment centers can provide a safe space for women to recover. There are no guarantees in recovery that women will stop using drugs and begin to heal. It takes a desire and feeling that they want to get better for them to quit substance use. Mental health support for women should be tailored to suit their needs on an individual basis. Neglect, abuse, and trauma are all part of the challenges women face in treatment. Dual diagnosis is important because it means getting a holistic approach to treatment upfront. No amount of recovery programs, without mental health programming, will help women overcome addiction fully. There needs to be a program that addresses their needs and supports their healing.
Women can work together to support one another in kicking an addiction to the curb. With that support, women can return to their homes and begin the journey of recovery with family and loved ones. Family therapy helps everyone get on the same page and stop behaviors which may be keeping the woman in addiction. While it is important for women to find help, they should first think about their goals in recovery. Stay focused on what is important and know that, with time, it does get better and healing can happen after addiction. The right program may be waiting for a woman to decide now is the time to take the reins and get her life back.
Casa Capri is designed for women who are struggling with addiction to find hope and a purpose. We offer an approach with only women that helps them find healing. We want to help women in recovery by providing therapy, programs, and aftercare support they need. As women, we are uniquely equipped to help meet those needs. Call Casa Capri today: 844-593-8020
Melissa Holmes Goodmon, Founder & CEO of Casa Capri Recovery, obtained her BA in Psychology and is a Licensed Drug and Alcohol Counselor (LAADC) specializing in women’s core issues. She is recognized as a leader in the field of mental health and substance abuse recovery where she has been an advocate since 2006.