Are Women Prone to Certain Types of Addictions?
August 28, 2018 - Addiction - 0 Comments
A growing number of women are suffering from drug dependency every year, which is a problem that still needs to be more carefully studied. The lack of studies discussing female drug addiction is an issue because it was once thought to be a problem that only affected men. However, the increasing number of women in residential recovery rehab centers has shown that concept to be a total myth.
That said, dependency for drugs affects women differently and influences what kinds of drugs and substances they are prone to abuse. Therefore, it is critical to fully understand this problem and how it impacts women around the world. In this article, you will learn about how dependency differs between the genders and the different substances that women tend to abuse. You will also learn how dual-diagnosis for mental-health problems can help with this problem.
Gender Differences Influence Drug Use
A variety of studies have taken a look at the different ways that dependency affects both genders. What they found has been relatively consistent and is vital to understand before gauging what types of substances women are most prone to abuse. For example, it was seen that men start abusing drugs at earlier ages and use them in more copious amounts than women.
That gender gap is narrowing, however, as an increasing number of women are suffering from addiction and need help recovering. One reason for that increase is the ways that most girls are introduced to drugs. For example, the study found that most girls and even women were introduced to drugs by a romantic partner, particularly boys, rather than their peer group.
And once they are introduced to a drug, girls are just as likely as boys to continue using it, either sporadically or regularly. However, the reasons that most women use drugs are different from the reasons why most men use. The thrill of use and being “dangerous” influenced many men to start and continue using. While many women use for the same reasons, most sustain drug use for them was a method of self-medication.
Why Women Self-Medicate
Studies have found that women are twice as likely to suffer from depression and anxiety when compared to men. As a result, many are often desperate to find a way to self-medicate and feel better about themselves. While many will get into art, poetry, or even exercise as a healthy outlet, others will turn to drugs. And since women are more likely to react to stress and anxiety than men, they are more likely to abuse drugs to medicate their mental-health problems.
This tendency to self-medicate also influences what kind of drugs that women are likely to abuse. They are more likely to turn to those drugs that help to alleviate their anxiety and depression. For example, downers like alcohol and marijuana may be popular in specific segments of the female population. However, others may turn to uppers, like cocaine, to give themselves the energy to get through the day.
As a result, mental-health problems complicate this issue because it makes it more difficult to treat. That’s because many women will turn to mental health professionals, instead of rehab or recovery experts, to manage this problem. While psychological help is critical to help women in this situation, it is only part of the treatment. Residential dual-diagnosis treatment is particularly vital for women in this situation. Later on, we’ll talk about that treatment method later to give you an idea of why it is so critical for recovery. For now, let’s move on to the progression of dependency in women and how it affects which drugs they use.
Dependency Is Often Faster In Women
The cycle of addiction in women is often much faster than it is in men. The reasons for this fast dependency are based on the way a woman’s body differs from a man. As most women have less body fat than men and are usually smaller in stature, they are more likely to respond quickly to drugs and other substances. This quicker response will trigger a higher level of pleasure than men receive. Their different hormone balance also accentuates their tendency to fall more quickly and intensely to dependency than men.
And women who are suffering from mental health and anxiety problems are likely to feel the increased intensity produced by their drug or substance as a good thing. After all, they no longer feel depression or anxiety after taking it, even if only for a brief period. As a result, they are likely to start regularly using those substances as a way to self-medicate. Therefore, the frequency at which they use these pills and drugs often escalates more rapidly than in men because of the effects that they have on their anxiety and depression.
What is particularly problematic about this quick increase in drug use is that women often peak at higher drug use levels than men. This problem can complicate their attempts to detox and treat their dependency. That’s because their body gets used to higher levels of drugs and is more likely to experience severe withdrawal symptoms when they quit. Studies have found that women who are going through withdrawal typically suffer from worse pain than men.
Unfortunately, this also means that women are more likely to relapse than men. And that relapse is likely to affect their depression and anxiety because they may feel like their relapse is symptomatic of personal or moral weakness. Even though science and the medical community has long argued that addiction is a disease, many people still perceive it as a personal failure.
This higher relapse rate also influences what kind of substances a woman ends up using. Many times, they will turn to drugs that are easier to obtain. For example, many end up abusing prescription drugs, like Xanax and other types of benzos, because they are easier to find than heroin or other illicit substances. However, relapse severity also influences how long a woman will continue to use alcohol and opiates long after they know they have a dependency.
Alcohol Abuse Is Rising In Women
The average image most people have in their mind when they think of alcoholism is likely a man sitting at a bar and drinking shot after shot. However, that cliche’ is not that accurate anymore. Over the last few decades, alcoholism among women has been increasingly common. For example, one survey found that 47 percent of all women over the ages of 12 stated that they were drinkers.
The exact nature of their drinking varied depending on the person. Some reported that they had only had one drink in the last 30 days. However, others stated that they had more than seven drinks in a week. This level of abuse might seem mild to some people (it is equivalent to just one glass a day), but it is indicative of the potential development of alcoholism.
Even worse, a look at various even television shows indicates the increasingly common use of alcohol in women. For example, shows like “Desperate Housewives” showcase women drinking wine or margaritas with their girlfriends as a way of celebrating or cutting loose. Often, this type of drinking is lauded as a good thing or as a positive way for these women to vent their anxiety and depression.
Unfortunately, studies of this phenomenon have found that these positive portrayals of drinking can trigger alcoholism in both men and women. For example, many will use these examples as a way of justifying excessive or persistent drinking. In the popular show “Mad Men,” the standard image of admen excessively drinking and smoking has been used by many as an excuse for their drinking habits. And that influence wasn’t limited to men, as many women took that example and suffered for it.
These influences, and the increasing prevalence of female wine memes on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram, show that drinking is becoming a more familiar social activity for many women. And it has become a way for them to relax after a hard work week or to relieve their anxiety and depression. Unfortunately, this has caused an increase in the number of women coming to detox and rehab centers.
Opiods Affect Women More Than Men
One of the most common of all dependencies in women is opiods. That’s because they are more likely to receive prescription opioids and benzos to alleviate various types of pain. In fact, prescription drug abuse is widespread among women, including substances like Cymbalta and Xanax. That’s because they help to manage their anxiety and pain at high levels. And women who may be reluctant to buy illici opioids like heroin are more likely to use prescription opioid pills because they are legal.
Unfortunately, that means that a higher number of women are likely to receive emergency treatment for opioid dependence and abuse. It isn’t uncommon for women who are addicted to opioids to use prescription substances like OxyContin, Vicodin, and Percocet as a way of managing their anxiety, depression, and chronic pain. As a result, the opioid overdose deaths in women have risen by 400 percent since 1999. Even worse, women who do try opioid substances like heroin are more likely to get addicted very quickly and will struggle to get through withdrawal and detox.
Stimulants Are A Common Problem For Many Women
Cocaine is one of the most commonly abused stimulants among women because it is easier to access and very powerful. And while men abuse this substance at higher rates than women, females are more profoundly affected by it. For example, the effects that this drug has on the heart are more pronounced in women, meaning that they are at a higher risk of suffering from cardiovascular health issues.
Other stimulants, like methamphetamine, are becoming increasingly common in women. The reasons for this abuse are unfortunate. Women think that it increases their levels of energy and makes it easier for them to work and handle their day-to-day life. Some believe that it will also help them exercise more effectively and help them lose weight.
In fact, studies have shown that women tend to start using methamphetamine at an earlier age than women and are more likely to stick to its use than men. Unfortunately, it also means that they are likely to suffer from the many side effects of this drug, such as dangerous weight loss, a decrease in bone density, and even undernourishment.
Ecstasy Is Another Substance That Heavily Affects Women
Ecstasy or MDMA is a popular party drug that is one of the few types of substances that women use more than men. That’s because they are more affected by its excessive production of serotonin and use it as a way of managing their anxiety and depression. Taking it before a party lets them act out in ways they would never have done if they hadn’t of been using the drug. It also decreases their anxiety and depression symptoms, even if just temporarily.
Unfortunately, the use of ecstasy has also been tied to an increase in sexual activity in women. While this isn’t a danger if the woman is safe and protects herself, the effects of the drug decrease their personal control. As a result, they are more likely to have unprotected sex with a stranger and suffer from venereal diseases or even unwanted pregnancies.
More troubling, researchers in Amsterdam found that ecstasy causes severe, and potentially irreversible, problems with the brains of women. It was found that it could cause the loss of serotonin neurons in the mind, which could lead to an increase in a variety of mental health issues. Panic, anxiety, impulse-control problems, and depression were all heavily linked to the extended use of ecstasy. Even worse, these problems were noted only in women and not in men.
Treatment Can Be Hard For Many Women
The substances that women are prone to abusing are often among the hardest to treat. Alcohol and opiate withdrawal will cause severe side effects that can be very dangerous and difficult to manage. Even worse, women often suffer from co-occurring disorders. This fact means that they have anxiety and depression that influences their dependency and vice versa.
As a result, detox is often a challenging experience for many women. They are usually not only physically addicted to a substance but need it for their mental health. As a result, it is crucial to use dual-diagnosis to treat their dependency. This method utilizes psychological counseling and much more to manage both the addiction and its underlying causes.
The use of dual-diagnosis is one of the most essential methods for helping a woman overcome a crippling dependency. No matter what kind of drugs or substances they use, this treatment method is a healing and effective way to decrease the grip of drugs on their lives and to make them happier and healthier individuals.
Contact us today to learn more about our rehab programs in California.