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Top 5 Issues Women Face in Recovery

Top 5 Issues women face in recoveryWomen are unequivocally the fastest growing segment for substance abuse in the United States. In fact, about 2.7 million women in the United States abuse drugs and/or alcohol. What is even more startling is that the majority of these women don’t ever receive treatment. The reasons for them not getting treatment usually are because:

  • They are afraid of losing or being separated from their families
  • They view their substance abuse as a social activity or habit instead of an addiction that is disrupting their lives
  • They believe that their substance abuse is caused by anxiety or depression, treating the mental health while ignoring the addiction
  • They are afraid or embarrassed to admit that they are struggling with addiction, and hide their drug or alcohol use from family and friends.

The issues women face in recovery aren’t new. In fact the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous even says that women progress faster in addiction than men. And now there is research to back that up.

Here are the top 5 issues women face in recovery:

  • Women start using drugs for different reasons then men, they get addicted differently, progress faster , and recover differently and also relapse for different issues. Due to shame and stigma, women may be more likely to drink or take pills when alone and hide it from others. Some women have their home as their bar and may have three martini play dates with their friends and their children.
  • Women with stressful careers may use drugs or alcohol to keep up the image that they can raise three kids, have a high power career and still keep up. With all the stimulant drugs available today some women start using them to lose weight. Many women are high functioning addicts and can keep up the appearance of being okay when actually they are falling apart.
  • Women are very likely to mix different types of drugs which makes them even more damaging. Women also tend to have many prescribers of medications which can make it even more dangerous.
  • When women are addicted it impacts the entire family system since women are generally the organizing factors in their relationships. They are the caregivers to aging parents, an older partners, and to their children. When a woman is spiritually impacted by an addiction it can really end up affecting these important family systems

In addition a female’s distinctive physiology, mental health issues, hormonal differences, spiritual concerns and as well as life circumstances may affect their experience in addiction and recovery. Treatment and recovery are most successful when these individualized needs are taken into account.

The good news is that when women do get treatment they are much more likely to recover! In fact it comes naturally to many of them. The female brain is wired for connection so this makes it very easy for women to find sober support in 12 step programs and anywhere. Recovery is very important to an addict’s life so this makes women very capable of achieving the life beyond their wildest dreams if they can overcome whatever is holding them back. And we all know they can!


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