Drug Addiction in Women

Drug use in women

Traditionally, epidemiological studies have shown a higher prevalence of substance addiction among men, but recent epidemiological surveys show an increase in the use of these substances among women, particularly among adolescents and young adults. The results of recent surveys on drug use in the general population and in school, so indicate. Since 1997 there is a growing trend in the consumption of snuff in women, while in men the trend is decreasing. There is a significant increase in alcohol consumption among younger women (15-19 years) and has decreased the difference in prevalence between men and women. Consumption of regular cannabis has increased among women in all age groups, especially in the age group of 15-19 years. While men have reduced cocaine use, women have increased, and the 15-19 age groups have a higher prevalence than men. This increase is due largely to that during the last two decades consumption of alcohol; snuff and substance abuse by women have received social acceptability to a greater extent.

 The addiction process in women

Many women who use drugs have gone through severe psychosocial problems in their life history. Research indicates that up to 70% of women who report having abused drugs also report a history of physical and sexual abuse. In addition to this, health related issues also occur with greater frequency and severity, as well as a crash course, which further complicates the use of addictive substances. These health issues include infection by the human immunodeficiency virus, hepatitis, osteoporosis, cancers, etc. Some studies suggest that after experimental drug use, women may develop dependence more rapidly as compared to men towards certain substances.

In the development and maintenance process of treating an addictive woman, the differences between men and women have been clearly defined. Among the differential variables that have been mentioned include: different social and family networks, greater biological vulnerability (more injuries and progress faster, more toxic effects at lower doses, more family history of abuse), greater psychosocial vulnerability (couples with substance abuse disorders , higher prevalence of psychopathology, stressful life events including more sexual abuse, maltreatment in childhood and adolescence, sexual dysfunction, etc.), more social consequences (lack of social acceptance, loneliness, social and labor complications, loss of social support including divorces and separation, marginalization), and psychological consequences (depression, more suicide attempts, more suicides, more anxiety, more cognitive impairment).

Treatment of drug-addicted woman

There are many barriers towards treating an addicted woman. Many women do not seek treatment because they are afraid. They are afraid of not being able to care for their children or not being able to keep them. Additionally, the fear of reprisals from their spouses and possible sanctions by the authorities over custody of their children are also barriers towards addiction treatment within women. Many women were initiated into drug use due to their drug-using sexual partners. Research indicates that dependent women have great difficulty to stop smoking if their peers are using drugs.

The main services of treatment that a woman requires for their substance abuse problems are: attention to other problems related to the use / abuse of other substances, gynecological care, psychiatric care, information and advice on issues of violence, legal advice on civil matters such as separation and divorce, social support and care services to children, health promotion and job counseling and / or education.

Drug addiction is a serious health problem, chronic and recurrent both in men and women; however between women using abusive substances or drug dependence may present different problems and require different treatment interventions. There are also differences between men and women who are under the treatment process. Students or working women are more likely to have health problems, previous history of suicide attempts or has suffered sexual or other physical abuse. Women with a history of sexual abuse, have lower rates of retention in treatment, even if a childcare facility is being provided.

An important factor to consider in the treatment of an addicted woman is to have a continuous support and constant monitoring so as to prevent relapse. Researchers indicate that there is a higher rate of treatment failure in women, in part because most women are getting treated without letting their family know about it. Under such circumstances, relapsing of substance abuse among women have higher prevalence and requires extra attention and care. It has also found that women have more psychiatric, medical as well social issues than men. Women diagnosed with mental disorders and substance abuse present a variety of difficulties that require multiple intervention of health problems, housing instability, homelessness or history of sexual abuse.

What women prefer drugs?

According to a Chilean study, women consume more alcohol, snuff and tranquilizers. The reason is simple: these drugs are more standardized, have better views of the design and they also spend more inadvertent consumption.

The main causes of drug use by women are:

  • The incorporation of women in the workplace, and the difficulty to make it compatible with the chores that this usually entails.
  • Having problems with relationships.

Drug addiction in women is difficult to detect, as there are very few who seek professional help, either for fear of reprisals from their spouses or other people around them or the fear of being unable to care for their children.

The difference in consumption between men and women is due to many circumstances, including the lifestyles associated with the functions and roles to be played by everyone in the society, which is highly relevant.

Competition in public life, coupled with the double working day following women to also comply with the household chores, stress factors, physical and psychological illnesses sometimes seek to mitigate the consumption of alcohol, snuff, nonprescription drugs, marijuana, cocaine, etc.

When a household includes a man with drug problems, mother, sister or wife, is in charge of convincing and apply the treatment of man as historically their role has been to care for and protect the other, but what happens when a woman is the one with the problem of addiction? The woman is usually more stigmatized by society and is considered a “vicious”, unable to adequately fulfill their role as a woman and suffers rejection by family and society.

Alcoholism and Women

In recent years, alcoholism has increased among women and the leading cause of death among women between 35 and 45 years of age and is generally estimated that alcoholic women have now surpassed men, with additional consequences that this brings in the family.

According to various studies, it has been seen that almost 90% of alcoholic women are married and 78% had children, although the data do not reveal the number of young women who drink alcohol. Among the groups, the group that is at most risk is those that are unmarried, without religion, the workers and those who live alone or apart from their families.

Women consume less alcohol than men, though the effects are greater and faster in their body, which puts them at greater risk of being raped or battered, having no ability to respond to anything. Among these, some additional issues are:

  • Abandonment of the responsibilities at home, especially with childcare.
  • Bad example, abuse and neglect of children.
  • If the lady is pregnant, the child can develop genetic malformations.
  • Early menopause and irregular periods.
  • Increased likelihood of developing liver cirrhosis.
  • Dementia and greater frequency to attempt suicide.

Risk Factors of consuming abusive substances among women

As an Individual – Depression, anxiety and social isolation, eating disorders: bulimia and anorexia; need to please-meet: stereotypes of femininity; dissatisfaction, inability to meet feminine ideals: beauty, kindness, motherhood, etc., abuse or sexual violence childhood, low self-esteem.

In the Family – Depressive mothers; permissiveness on family consumption, low perception of risk, rules, confusing values and norms; debilitated bonding with partner, the risk of getting other family members to get addicted to substance abuse, family violence and economic crises.

Social factors – Accessibility and availability of substances, no social participation, lack of social solidarity, unequal employment opportunities, use of substances in places of amusement; psychiatrization psychologizing and medicalization of female ailments.