Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Addiction: How Women Differ From Men

how women experience addiction differentlyIn honor of National Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day on March 8, Forbes.com ran an article titled “How Women Experience Addiction Differently Than Men.” 

For any of you already in recovery, you’re probably feverishly nodding your head just from reading the title alone. We know that as women we experience unique challenges when it comes to addiction and recovery — challenges that are best met with a female-centric approach to treatment. 

Sadly, until the 1990s when U.S. agencies required federally funded studies to enroll more women, most research on substance use focused on men, explains the author. Today, we are continuing to learn more about the gender difference when it comes to addiction. 

For instance, the article notes how women find it harder to quit and are more vulnerable to relapse. Plus, they experience addiction-related medical or social consequences faster than men. Here are a few more differences, grouped by addictive substance, as outlined within the article: 
  • Opioids: Women are more likely to have chronic pain, be prescribed prescription painkillers and at higher doses than men; and become dependent more quickly than men, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • Alcohol: Women are more vulnerable to alcohol’s effects and develop alcohol dependence faster than men. Biology also makes women more vulnerable to alcohol’s effects, including alcohol-induced organ injury (liver disease and brain damage) as well as an increased risk of breast cancer.
  • Nicotine: Once again, female smokers find it harder to quit and are more likely to relapse once they do quit. Female smokers also face greater health risks than male smokers, including a higher likelihood of developing lung cancer or having a heart attack.  
Women and Addiction Recovery
At Rising Roads Recovery, we know that every woman who comes to us is incredibly unique and needs to be treated that way. One size does not fit all – and one future does not work for everyone. To learn more about our addiction treatment programs, call 866-746-1558


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