Published on Wednesday, May 31st, 2017 in Latest News.
In this blog post, we discuss the six most common myths surrounding the issue of women and addiction. When it comes to addiction, there are some undeniable differences between men and women. For instance, women may be more vulnerable to sexual and physical trauma that’s often linked to addiction. Women may also disproportionately suffer from the stress and strains caused by family life. Women may also be biologically more susceptible to develop an addiction to certain substances. In this post, we outline some of these difference, and we also shed light on some of the myths surrounding female addiction.
Myth #1: Men have a high probability than women for developing an addiction
If you peruse the official figures surround drug and alcohol-related deaths, it’s not surprising that many people conclude that men are more likely to suffer from an addiction than are women.
However, this conclusion is incorrect. In reality, women are just as likely to develop an addiction when compared to men. In the USA, women represent the fastest-growing segment of drug uses. This is particularly true when it comes to prescription medications In the US, around 20,000 women die each year due to drug overdose.
Myth #2: Women become hooked on drugs for the same reasons as men
This myth is popular, particular among those who have not studied brain chemistry difference between men and women. For instance, women are twice as likely to suffer from anxiety when compared to men. This anxiety means women are more likely to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. This allows them to temporarily eliminate anxiety.
Women are also thought to be disproportionately affected to the harmful effects of stress when compared to men. Stress is thought to be a major trigger of both drug and alcohol addiction. Studies also suggest that women are more likely to crave drugs and alcohol when presented with psychological distress when compared to men. Male cravings are more likely to be generated with cues that directly relate to drug and alcohol consumption.
Women may also be more at risk of suffering from domestic abuse than men. This trauma is a common addiction trigger. Domestic abuse may cause post-traumatic stress disorder. Women are also more likely to suffer from sexual abuse at the hands of a relative. This also thought to be a key motivation for female drug and alcohol abuse.
Pain and the management of pain is also thought to contribute to female addiction when compared to men. For instance, studies suggest women are more likely to suffer from severe pain. And women are thus more likely to consume addictive opiates to reduce this pain. This may partially explain the disproportionate growth in female addiction in the USA over the last decade.
Hormonal differences also play a role when it comes to female addiction. For instance, estrogen is thought to increase women’s probability of developing an addiction to cocaine. Another study suggests the menstrual cycle may also increase females’ cravings for drugs such as cocaine.
Myth #3: Women face equal stigma as men for developing an addiction
Some may have you believe that the stigma of addiction is equal for both men and women. However, this is not true. Society undoubtedly stigmatises women more harshly for developing an addiction than for men. This may discourage countless women for seeking out professional addiction treatment.
A prime example of the added stigma attached to female addiction concerns the topic of child rearing. Women are seen as the chief caretaker of children. This may cause many to comment that ‘she should have her children taken of her’ when they discover the existence of a women’s addiction. This is rarely, if not ever mentioned when a male caretaker’s addiction is exposed to his community.
Myth #4: Men and women become hooked on drugs at the same pace
This assertion is clearly not true. In fact, women are believed to become addicted to drugs much more readily when compared to men. The ‘onset of dependency’ is much more rapid for women. This is particularly true when it comes to a dependency to cannabis, opioid and alcohol.
Myth #5: Women are more likely than men to seek out help for their addiction
This myth is perhaps the most damaging misconception listed here. Unfortunately, the added stigma attached to female addiction means women are typically far less likely than men to cry out for help for their addiction. This means many women are stuck in the trap of addiction for many years, and often until it is too late to make changes for the better.
To address this issue, we’ve seen the rise of female-only rehab centres. These centres allow women to explore their feelings without male involvement. Here, women will attend female-only support groups where they may discuss issues such as rape, domestic violence and child abuse.