Substance abuse and addiction are much more complicated than conventional knowledge would suggest. For example, addiction is often caused or intensified by co-occurring disorders. Mental disorders like anxiety, stress, and depression are common co-occurring disorders that can easily lead to substance abuse and addiction. Women face more challenges with addiction because of how prone they are to types of disorders. It is essential that there is more conversation regarding the dangers that women are exposed to as a result of their disposition to these types of co-occurring disorders. Everyone knows of or has been a party to the occasion alcoholic beverage that is used to relieve stress from a hectic week or workday. The danger of that one ‘innocent’ drink is much more real than most would believe. Those suffering from stress, anxiety or depression could easily fall victim to an addiction from that ‘innocent’ drink.

Women and Drugs

Studies have proven that women can become addicted to drugs while using smaller amounts than men. They are on average smaller than their male counterparts, which is also incredibly dangerous when they use or abuse drugs. The National Institute of Drug Abuse states that roughly 16 million women have used an illicit drug in the past year. Women are also more likely to relapse. They are more likely to develop tolerance and dependence on drugs because of their weight and body composition. Women develop higher levels of anxiety and stress after drug use as well. When they get those feelings they might turn back to drugs to attempt to compensate, but this starts a vicious cycle of substance abuse and addiction. Women are also more likely to have depression and anxiety, which means they are more likely to be exposed to prescription drugs. Prescription drug use and abuse in this nation are astounding. More and more people develop addictions to prescriptions every day; like no other nation in the world. These drugs are extremely dangerous, should never be self-prescribed and never taken over a long period of time. Unfortunately, all of those issues are happening regularly.

Changing of Perception

The issue of substance abuse and addiction is slowly changing; in terms of perception that is. In the past, most people believed addiction and substance abuse to be an issue of self-weakness and immoral/unethical behavior. The truth is that drugs change the way the body and brain function. People can be completely transformed. To their families, addicts can often appear like strangers. When the damage caused by toxic chemicals is compounded with a co-occurring disorder it is easy to see the trouble in recovery. Women face troubling situation when it comes to addiction. Their drug or alcohol abuse could have led them into some rather dark situations where they could have been abused. That type of incident can perpetuate their substance abuse and addiction.

Women and Treatment

There are a significant amount of treatment options for women struggling with addiction. These options are often geared directly for women as well. Women centered or exclusively women treatment centers have been useful for those seeking treatment. There are even some facilities that offer housing for an addicted mother and her children. Women suffering from addiction and/or their families must exhaust all of the options available to them for help. Addiction affects all those in contact with the addict. Women addicts must realize and understand that without help they will leave their husbands, children and families feeling responsible for their loss. Love and support from family can help women addicts get the help they need and succeed in treatment. More conversations regarding addiction will help pull it out of the archaic, ignorant light to which it is currently portrayed. Speak with a professional about treatment options if you know a women struggling with addiction.