Published On: Mon, Jun 15th, 2015

Substance Abuse In Women: Causes, Effects, Challenges & Solutions

The definition of substance abuse encompasses the excessive and addictive use of any substance that alters the individual’s behavior, mood, and lifestyle. The substance could be a prescription medicine, tobacco, alcohol, or a drug with more serious consequences like cocaine or heroin. Substance abuse, substance dependence, and substance use disorders occur in many women today and pose threats to the suffering individuals, their families, and the society.

The misconception that substance abuse is only common among male members of the society has created problems for suffering women that often deprive them of rightful treatment.

An article published at the National Center for Biotechnology Information suggests that although men are still more likely than women to suffer from drug dependence and drug abuse, this statistical gap between the two genders is narrowing with the passage of time. The reason for this is attributed to the increase in substance abuse in women.

As they have become more work oriented and practical, women of today have become more susceptible to substance dependence and abuse, and these cases are increasingly getting reported as women have started opening up about their drug abuse problems.

photo/mdha.org.au (edited)

photo/mdha.org.au (edited)

The emotional factor is the key reason behind most cases of drug abuse in women. Stress leads many women to try different drugs, especially alcohol; it is very common to hear stressed out housewives and mothers explain how alcohol helps them survive their days. Domestic abuse and violence is an important factor in driving women to drug abuse; 74 percent of addicted women have reported to suffer sexual abuse and 52 percent have been through physical abuse in their lives.

Emotional troubles, isolation, and relationship problems (especially divorce) cause women a great deal of trauma, causing them to turn to drugs for consolation. In the case of most women, the drug problems start out as an occasional drug for fun or a daily glass of wine in the evening, and consequently becomes an addiction.

Drug addiction can have serious negative outcomes for women. The most worrisome effect is the deterioration of a woman’s role as a homemaker, partner, and mother, which ultimately affects the entire family. The physiological effects of long-term drug use are way more serious in women than men. Drug addicted women will have greater chances of contracting STDs, having unplanned pregnancies, indulge in criminal activities and unsafe driving practices, and have poor health during or after pregnancies which will further affect the newborn. Women suffering from substance abuse and substance use disorders will also be more vulnerable to carrying out or suffering from domestic violence or abuse.

Treating substance addiction in women is different to treating it in men. Most treatment institutes are based on the studies carried out on men; the lack of informed cases of female substance abuse has led to fewer specialized faculties for women’s treatment.

Women who admit to having a substance abuse problem and are looking for a solution are met by problems during treatment; some of these include lack of insurance, requirements like daycare for children and transportation, and lack of specialized health care providers for women. Fear, guilt, and embarrassment can also hinder a woman’s path towards treatment.

Some substance abuse rehabilitation for women help them to fight these problems and provide focused, female-specific treatment programs to help. Specialized treatment centers know that women have a greater chance of focusing on their recovery if treatment is provided along with other women, uninhibited and without any distractions that can offer in mixed gender settings.

Substance abuse can be cured slowly and steadily, to give the patient a normal, healthy life. Although personal willpower is important to cure a drug abuse problem, the patient also needs an external support system to sail through the difficult treatment phase.


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About the Author

- Adam Lee is a financial writer who has insightful knowledge in dealing with different financial issues. He tries to help people to get out of difficult financial situations by contributing financial write ups to websites and blogs such as Moneyforlunch.com and Moneynewsnow.com

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  1. Impacts of Substance Abuse on Human Health - Integrative Addiction Institute says:

    […] Substance Abuse In Women: Causes, Effects, Challenges & Solutions […]

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