Globally, when compared to men, women have always had lower rates of drug and alcohol use and dependence. But this gender gap is closing. As women’s access to opportunities increases and as their affluence, or social class goes up, we see an increase in the rate of substance abuse. In fact, just as women are proving their competence and abilities in the work and education spheres of society, they have already pushed ahead in the arena of substance abuse, especially of certain substances.
In the U.S., about 7% to 12% of women are dependent on alcohol—about two-thirds of the rate among men. The gender gap in the U.S. is one of the smallest in the world. Trends show that the rates of drug and alcohol use will rise across the board—but most of all for women.
Addiction on the Rise Among Women: Cultural Trends
The Cultural Revolution in the late ‘60s that ushered in the great wave of feminism took on gender role traditions; where women were once restricted to limiting social roles, women were being liberated to participate in the male world. They were now able to work and drink with ‘the boys.’
And since the 70s, the gender gap has been shrinking. The stigma against women drinking and even abusing alcohol has decreased while their access to alcohol has increased. Over the 20th century, smoking and drinking rates gradually-but-steadily rose among women—as women started taking up these habits by class: first the upper class, next the middle class, and finally the lower class.
Addiction and Modern Women: Social Issues
One specific class of drug that women are using, abusing and getting addicted to at a much greater rate than men is that of tranquilizers – mainly benzodiazepines – such as Xanax and Valium. In fact, the difference is drastic; women are almost twice as likely as men in South America and Europe to have ever used sedatives and to use them on a regular basis.
Mental health conditions and diagnoses are significant. American women have higher rates of mental illness: they are 70% more likely than men to have depression and twice as likely to have anxiety-related disorders. World-wide, the rate of mental illness among women is higher than that of men.
Women are twice as likely to suffer from depression and anxiety as men—and are far more likely to self-medicate with alcohol and other substances. Many women who drink heavily are also the victims of trauma, such as sexual abuse, and have or have had eating disorders in the past.
Male Addiction vs. Female Addiction: The Bottom Line
Men and women get addicted at different rates, for different reasons, sometimes to specifically different substances, and often continue to use also for different reasons. For those reasons as well as taking into consideration women’s unique body chemistry, metabolism, and gender-specific issues, such as trauma, it is beneficial for women to seek treatment in the form of gender-specific treatment such as that which is offered at Orchid Recovery Center, a top-rated women’s treatment center that specializes in substance abuse, addiction, and trauma resolution. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call the Orchid Recovery Center toll-free at 1-800-777-9588.
You’re single in recovery. Perhaps this is the first time you’ve been single in a long time. Many of us seek happiness outside of ourselves, so it makes sense that – besides looking for a solution with alcohol and other drugs – we searched for happiness in relationships and frivolous sexcapades.
Being single in recovery isn’t the end of the world. In fact, it’s quite the opposite: it’s the beginning of a new life, one in which you are able to be intimate with yourself first and with the perfect partner later, when the time is right. Here are the 8 benefits of being single in recovery.
#1. You get to know yourself/better sense of self
Being clean and sober and working a program allows you to get to know yourself. And being single in recovery allows this to unfold more quickly, without the distraction of a significant other.
#2. You learn how to not be codependent
Many of us who have dealt with substance abuse and addiction also struggle with codependency issues. The good news is that we can learn to grow, change our ways, and become independent. And this will prime us for a strong, healthy relationship in the future.
#3. You can focus on your recovery
They say this is a selfish program. And it is. Of course, it’s about helping others, too. But, by “selfish” we mean that it’s important to put yourself first (for once!) and give yourself the best gift possible: sobriety. Remember: you’re worth having a happy, healthy, and sober life.
#4. You learn about your interests/figure out what you enjoy
Those of us who have spent any time in active addiction know that, when we get clean and sober, we often don’t know what to do with ourselves. We never really got to know ourselves – our likes and dislikes, our interests, hobbies, etc. Being single in recovery will give you the freedom to spend time discovering these things and developing hobbies and talents (see #7).
#5. You realize that you don’t need to be in a relationship to validate yourself
Again, being in recovery and single means spending time with yourself and with friends, allowing you to become more independent. And with independence comes confidence. You will realize something really amazing: that you are awesome by yourself; you don’t need a relationship to define you or to validate you.
#6. You forge deeper relationships with fellow women in the program
As women in recovery, it’s important to be able to be close with other sober, trustworthy women. Many of us have trust issues when it comes to men and women. Meeting and forming bonds with other women helps us grow.
#7. You have more free time to spend however you want
Another benefit of being in single in recovery is having freedom – to do whatever you want; you’re discovering your interests and hobbies. You won’t feel guilty about not spending time with that significant other when you’re out doing the things you enjoy.
#8. You can get clear on what you want in a partner and a relationship
By taking advantage of being single in recovery, such as enjoying the benefits listed above, you will be that whole, well-rounded, healthy, and happy woman that you were always meant to be. That said, you will know what it is you want in life and in a partnership with someone and, when the time is right, you will be ready for that “10” relationship with a special someone.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588.
Alcohol detox and detox from alcohol
If you have become physically dependent on alcohol, when you try to stop you will experience withdrawal symptoms as a result of your alcohol detox. By quitting drinking cold turkey, or stopping abruptly, you are forcing your body and brain – your whole system, to detox from alcohol, with potentially dire consequences. Alcohol withdrawal syndrome can range from uncomfortable physical and psychological symptoms to more severe symptoms that can lead to a possibly life-threatening situation.
Length of Alcohol Detox and Withdrawal Symptoms
So, Just how long does it take to detox from alcohol? When you detox from alcohol, alcohol withdrawal symptoms can start as promptly as two hours after your last drink and can last for weeks on end. Between 12 and 24 hours after alcohol cessation, some people experience visual, auditory, or tactile hallucinations that usually end within 48 hours. There’s no real way to say how long your alcohol detox will last; it depends on the individual’s body chemistry, such as metabolism, as well as other factors such as how long the alcohol abuse has gone on and to what degree of severity.
Alcohol Detox Symptoms: Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome
Symptoms of alcohol detox range from mild anxiety and shakiness to extremely severe complications, such as seizures and delirium tremens – called “the DTs.” Symptoms from the DTs are characterized by confusion, rapid heartbeat, and fever, the death rate from which is estimated to range from 1% to 5%.
Other severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms that result from sudden detox from alcohol include anxiety, deep depression, seizure, fall risk, and coma. Death can result from the symptoms, alone, and commonly is due to head injury sustained from a fall.
The ‘Kindling Effect’
If you’ve experienced previous alcohol withdrawal episodes or if you have other health conditions such as infections, heart disease, lung disease, or a history of seizures, it’s especially important to see a doctor.
This is because of something called the kindling effect. Basically what this means is that, every time you detox yourself from alcohol, you will experience more and more severe withdrawal symptoms. It’s like the body keeps a record of each time in the past that you stopped drinking and got the shakes or something like that. Each subsequent episode will only get worse, putting you at and increasing risk for coma and death.
Importance of Going to a Facility for Alcohol Detox
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can get worse – and quickly, at that. It’s of utmost importance to seek medical attention even if your symptoms seeming rather mild. There is available treatment that has been specifically developed to treat alcohol withdrawal syndrome, which can reduce the risk of developing the more severe alcohol detox symptoms, such as withdrawal seizures or the DTs. An alcohol detox is designed to safely detox you from alcohol in a controlled and comfortable setting to assure your health and safety.
Severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms are a medical emergency. If seizures, fever, severe confusion, hallucinations, or irregular heartbeats occur, either take the patient to an emergency room or call 911.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, addiction, or alcoholism please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
After relapses a lot of us don’t know what to do with ourselves next – what steps do we take? It can be a very difficult time for you and it can be helpful to have a guide in what you should do next. I’ve thought of 6 things to do after a relapse.
6 Things to Do After You Relapse…
#1. Be honest with yourself and admit that you relapsed
The first step of the 12 steps of any anonymous fellowship is admitting you are powerless over your addiction and that your life has become unmanageable. This is a critical step in recovering from your drug and alcohol addiction. You can’t get better if you stay in denial and aren’t honest about your problem. Be honest with yourself and accept that you slipped up.
#2. Call a sober support or your sponsor
This can be very difficult, but it is vital to your recovery that you tell someone about your relapse. You may feel uncomfortable and embarrassed about the relapse and it can be hard to open up and tell someone. Remember that your sober supports and your sponsor are there to help you. Keeping the relapse to yourself will only make it worse and people will end up finding out anyway.
#3. Go pick up a white chip at a meeting
Once you’ve admitted your relapse and told someone, the next thing to do is hit a meeting. Picking up your white chip symbolizes that you are starting over again and have admitted that you have a problem. Someone should come up to you after the meeting or you can go up to someone who had their hand raised to be a sponsor. People are willing to help, just go up and talk to them!
#4. Remember to take it slow #ODAT (one day at a time)
Take it one day at a time and don’t be hard on yourself. Try making a 24-hour commitment to yourself to stay sober. It can be overwhelming and very emotional after a relapse, try not to think too far into the future and just commit to 24-hours at a time. If you get too overwhelmed it can cause you to want to throw in the towel and give up; don’t think into the future – stay focused on the here and now. Once you’ve made it through the first 24-hours, make another 24-hour commitment!
#5. Know that it’s okay and things will get better
It might seem hopeless at first, but things will get better. Relapse is a normal part of the recovery process (but it isn’t required) and it doesn’t mean you can’t get back into your program and be successfully sober. Things will get better and it will get easier, just give it time. Stay close to your sober supports and sponsor in the mean-time.
#6. Take suggestions from your sponsor and people in the rooms
The first few days after a relapse are the hardest and most people don’t know what to do with themselves. You probably are questioning a lot of different things and are unsure of how to go about doing things like telling your parents, what to do to keep busy, telling all of your friends and sponsees and more questions like that. Speak to your sponsor and supports and they can give you suggestions on what you should be doing. In the beginning just do what they recommend and forget about everything else. It doesn’t have to all be figured out right away.
If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll free 1-800-777-9588.
When we enter rehab for the first time, it can be intense and very different than anything you are used to. Upon enter treatment, you learn a couple of things pretty quickly. I’ve thought of 7 things you learn quickly when you go to rehab.
7 Things You Learn Quickly When You Go to Rehab…
1. Not everyone is there to get better
This is something I noticed right away. Not everyone who is in rehab with you is actually there to get better. There are a lot of people who are just there to dry out, because their families forced them or because they are court ordered. Be aware that not everyone is after recovery in the same way or for the same reasons.
2. You feel at home, like you’re not alone anymore
I don’t know about you, but a lot of my friends and I have talked about how alone and different we felt in our everyday lives before entering rehab. Once we went into rehab it was like a huge relief came over us because we weren’t alone in what we were feeling anymore.
3. How important it is to have support in early recovery
You don’t even realize how much you need support in early recovery until you get to rehab. It is so vital to staying sober to have people there for you that you can call or run to if you are feeling down. Many of us take that for granted but it’s such a benefit to treatment; having women around you all the time that understand you.
4. To focus on yourself and your program
We go to rehab to get better and part of that involves putting yourself first and focusing on your issues. You get to go to therapy and do group sessions to get through your problems and talk about them. This is definitely the time to be selfish; focus on you and your program!
5. That there’s a name for what you’ve been experiencing and treatment available
So, I’m not just crazy? I have the disease of addiction and there is help available. I don’t have to go through the rest of my life in this insanity. There is a solution! Going to treatment and getting help gets you on the right path to getting better from your addiction.
6. There is hope but you have a lot of work ahead of you
It all might seem pretty lousy right now, but have hope because it really does get better. You have a lot of work to do to recover. This is a simple program but it does require you to put in action. If you put in the footwork, the outcome of your recovery will be totally worth it. Stay positive!
7. There can be a lot of drama in rehab
Unfortunately, there can be tons of drama in rehab. It makes sense though. You put a bunch of hormonal and recently sober women in a treatment center together – there’s bound to be some disagreements and drama. My advice is to stay out of it the best you can.
If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll free 1-800-777-9588.