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Research On Drug Treatment For Women

Medical research has been done largely on men for decades.  Scientists have been discovering the many differences between men’s and women’s health in more recent decades.  Finally, drug and alcohol research has also been catching up on this trend.  Learn more about what researchers know now and what they’ll be looking for in the future.

Addiction Research on Women Has Revealed Important Information

One particular finding has laid the groundwork for all other research on women and addiction.  Drugs and alcohol affect women differently than they affect men.  It seems so simple, and perhaps obvious, but it makes all the difference for drug treatment.  Women generally have more fat in their bodies, less water to dilute the effects of the drugs.  Also, women’s bodies are smaller than men on average.  So a specific amount of alcohol for a man would actually be more potent for a woman.   

Women also tend to enter an addiction through emotional pathways.  Sexual trauma, abuse, violent relationships, and PTSD are common examples.  Those issues can be so damaging that a great deal of shame and low self worth develop.  The onslaught of emotionally charged thoughts can be intense.  Women have far more connections in the brain related to communication and emotions.  Deep emotional pain can become so overwhelming that it seems there is no escape.  Drugs and alcohol can provide that much needed relief from the constant presence of extreme emotion.

Addiction Research on Women Looks to the Future

According to the National Institute on Drugs and Alcohol, much of the research done on women has been with pregnant women and their children.  It will be important to expand the scope of participants to better represent the wide range of women needing drug treatment

Think about the fresh viewpoint the NIDA could take on women and addiction if they studied the influence of race, age, physical size, social status, relationships, role in the workforce, motherhood or childlessness, mental health history, sexual orientation, and other factors.  This would truly view women as individuals with a variety of lifestyles and situations, not just in the context of motherhood. 

Drug Treatment Trends Benefiting Women

The Orchid Recovery Center is leading the trend for women’s drug rehab.  Their exclusive focus on women is ahead of the game, showing the way for effective women’s drug and alcohol treatment.  And as I have opened up this topic of future research on women and addiction, it looks clear that another post (or more) will be necessary to cover the topic.  Tune in soon to see more about how drug treatment may benefit from future research on women and addiction.

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