How Does Being a Woman Change Your Experience with Drug Addiction Treatment?
Addiction is a horrible experience, regardless of gender, but very often, the experiences that women go through during active addiction are a little different than men. As a result, their needs in treatment are different as well, which is why woman-centered rehab programs like The Orchid are so successful.
What exactly is different for women? Here are just a few things:
- Stigma. Drug and alcohol addiction is more common among men than it is among women. In fact, men are three times as likely to abuse alcohol and twice as likely to meet the criteria for a drug addiction diagnosis, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Because there is a much lesser percentage of women struggling with the problem, those who are addicts or alcoholics often feel stigmatized – too embarrassed to admit they are struggling with addiction and in need of help.
- Self–medication. Women more often turn to drugs and alcohol in an effort to “self-medicate” emotional issues like anger or depression than men. Also, mental health disorders like eating disorders, borderline personality disorder, depression, anxiety and other issues are more likely to affect women than men, and patients diagnosed with these disorders are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol.
- Introduction to drugs. Many women are first introduced to drug use and abuse – especially hardcore drug use that involves needle use – by their boyfriend. Also, many who are arrested for drug possession or drug-related charges do so while working with their boyfriend or at their boyfriend’s request. The romantic component can make it more difficult to seek treatment or remain clean and sober after rehab.
- Estrogen. A number of studies have pointed to the rise and fall of estrogen levels in women throughout the month as a factor in their ability to handle cravings or remain clean and sober.
- Quicker deterioration due to addiction. Women can drink or use drugs in a lesser amount than men and experience worse health consequences far more quickly.
The biological and physiological effects of drug and alcohol abuse are different for men and women, but so too are the mental and emotional effects. It is exceedingly important for women in recovery to get the specified and targeted treatment they need to heal and move forward in their new drug-free life. If a woman you love is struggling with alcohol or drug dependence, contact us today here at The Orchid and find out more about enrolling her in addiction treatment.