Wednesday, June 22, 2016

How Addiction Affects Women and Men Differently

addiction affects women differently men
Today in the United States, women are the fastest-growing portion of the population dealing with substance abuse. The Federal Center for Substance Abuse Prevention estimates approximately 2.7 million women in the United States abuse alcohol or drugs.

No Longer Ignored 
Traditionally, research on substance abuse and addiction used to focus on men. It has only been during the past two decades that there was a shift after U.S. agencies made it a requirement to include women in federally funded studies. Addiction treatment facilities once used research based on men to create their programs, but this has now changed and differences in gender are taken into account.

The Facts
In 2008 it the U.S. National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that 11.5% of men and 6.4% of women are addicted to substances. Despite the fact that men are more likely to have substance dependence or addiction problems, women tend to become dependent on addictive substances more quickly, can find it harder to quit using and are more likely to relapse.

Although both men and women deal with addiction, females face unique challenges. Here are five things you might not know about women and addiction:

Women and men metabolize substances differently. Because women are, on average, smaller than men one alcoholic beverage has about twice the impact physically that it does on a man, especially on the organs—potentially doing serious damage to a woman’s body much more quickly than it would on a man.

Women are less likely to seek treatment. In addition to financial challenges and social stigma, childcare responsibilities often keep women from seeking the help they need.

Women’s body chemistry can make them more susceptible to addiction. While more research is necessary, some studies have suggested that estrogen may influence the feeling of pressure in the brain that occurs while using substances, potentially making women more likely to experience intense cravings and become addicted to drugs or alcohol.

Women are more likely to relapse. Because women are biologically more vulnerable to addiction, they can be prone to falling back into substance abuse.

Women can be at risk for abusing prescriptions. While men may experiment with prescription opioids to get high, women tend to keep unused medications or even use sedatives to enhance the efficacy of pain killers. Due to the fact that they are more prone to suffer from chronic pain conditions, women are more likely to receive prescription pain relief, which can lead to opioid abuse.

Moving Forward
Women may deal with many trials while battling addiction, but there is hope. Finding the right 12-step program that is specifically designed for women’s needs can help you heal. Rising Roads Recovery has created a program that is dedicated to helping women get and stay sober. Contact us for more information at 1-866-746-1558.

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