The disease of addiction can afflict people of any race, creed, or social status. However, different people are definitely affected in different ways. Gender in particular plays an active role in how and why a person suffers from substance abuse. Only in the last couple of decades have studies about addiction shifted to include both genders instead of just men.
Research has shown that men are more likely to become addicts, but women suffering from addiction face greater challenges. Use of an addictive substance turns more quickly to abuse in women. Because traditional treatment programs were devised based on research that only included men, there are more walls standing between women and recovery. Women progress through the social and medical consequences of addiction faster than men do. They find it more difficult to quit, and relapse more easily. Women are more predisposed to co-occurring disorders like anxiety or depression. There is also less research into treatments that work better for women.
In particular, women are more physiologically vulnerable to the effects of alcohol than men are. Almost twice as many men abuse alcohol as women in the U.S. However, there is greater risk in women from the long-term damage alcohol causes. There is less water and more adipose tissue in a woman’s body, and they tend to weigh less than men do. Water dilutes alcohol, but adipose tissue retains it. A woman’s organs also suffer greater exposure to the effects of alcohol. There are less enzymes to break down alcohol in a woman’s body compared to men, and more alcohol is absorbed into their bloodstream as a result. An even greater risk is carried by substance abuse during pregnancy. It can cause long-term physical and mental issues for the child, as well as complications for the mother.
On top of these physical issues, women abusing substances are also less likely to seek help. Addiction is seen as much more shameful for women than for men in society. It is much more common for female addicts to have children they are responsible for than men. Whether due to absence during a treatment program or losing legal rights to care for them, mothers fear being separated from their children. Heavy social judgment faces pregnant women, yet very little aid is available for them.
Despite the lack of support for women in addiction, the gap between the number of male and female addicts has been closing. However, as women who suffer from abuse are on the rise, awareness of the issue is fortunately spreading. Researches are looking for treatments that are more effective for women. Support groups for women are becoming more common, especially for those who also suffer from physical abuse or other trauma.
Scottsdale Recovery Center specializes in the unique needs of women who are seeking treatment from their addictions. Our team of highly trained professionals can help you with love, care, and compassion. Scottsdale Recovery Centers also has one of the best relapse prevention programs in the industry. Please call us today at 602.346.9142 or visit us online at www.scottsdalerecovery.com to learn more about how Scottsdale Recovery Center can help you.
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