Women Falling Victim to Addiction
Twenty years ago, addiction studies and research focused almost entirely on men. This has now changed dramatically.
Addiction has been on a steady increase and growing even faster in women than men.
Once funding requests for addiction centers began to rise for women, investigations began looking more closely at addiction in women.
While women have often sought treatment for prescription drugs and alcohol, the growing concern now is heroin.
Too often, women become dependent on certain gateway drugs and it’s then a short trip into addiction.
This can lead to health problems, loss of income and employment, which may also lead to homelessness. This is not only harmful to the women but all too often there are children in the home, who also suffer.
Why Women Use
Addiction expert Indra Cidambi, M.D. says while anyone can become addicted, the reasons for taking and abusing substances is always unique. Sex, which is based on their actual biology and gender, is a factor in how women see themselves and are often based on how culture and society see their role in the family.
Women themselves describe their unique reasons for using drugs, like body image, fighting exhaustion, dealing with pain, or mental health issues such as anxiety or depression. The pressure of raising families, trying to prove themselves in their careers constantly and financial strains are all contributing factors.
There may be pain stemming from physical or mental abuse, or neglect or abandonment in childhood. When children are forced to be the caretaker, often in later life the adult woman will start on a journey of drug and or alcohol abuse, feeling the need to make up for lost time.
Abusive relationships can also lead women to self-medicate, leading to dependence on a substance. Drug or alcohol use can also be triggered by their partner’s addiction, as a way to get onboard and bond. Fear of losing the partner is sometimes bigger than the repercussions of experimenting with drugs.
Professionals who have studied substance use and or abuse by women have found that there is a link to women-specific issues: hormones, menstrual cycle, pregnancy, breastfeeding, infertility, and menopause.
Drugs and Women
Drugs and alcohol also metabolized differently by women. They are often smaller, with lower tolerance levels to active substances. Women have more fatty tissue, which means the drugs stay in the body longer, giving the body more time to absorb the drugs.
Women also use drugs differently, often in smaller doses. They tend to prefer a smaller amount as it allows them to be functional and avoid detection. Smaller doses can also mean dosing more often.
Not only is seeking treatment often difficult for women, but they also have a higher rate of relapsing and using again. They often feel shame, feel weak and feel like they are abandoning their family or their duties. Women also often feel they have their addiction under control.
It’s because of all these unique factors facing women and addiction that Dr. Indra Cidambi, the Ambulatory Detox model for withdrawal management at her facility, Center for Network Therapy. The facility specializes in focusing on drug treatment programs that specifically address women’s unique issues.
They utilize Decisional Balancing Exercise so women can themselves see the pros and cons of entering a treatment program. After an assessment, they offer medication and or therapy geared towards each woman’s unique case.
If applicable, CNT include the client’s immediate family to help heal these relationships. They work on your schedule to accommodate your needs and avoid disrupting your life and the lives of your family.
They work with your healthcare provider to make sure all issues are addressed. They offer self-help and group therapy to encourage women and help them connect to people who are also going through the same procedure in one of our drug and alcohol treatment centers. This helps speed up recovery and allows women to not only share but to discover their own strengths.
If you are suffering from chemical dependence, you are not alone and there is help available that is designed for you. If you need more information, please contact CNT today.