Women in Addiction Recovery. Is it Different?
Drug and alcohol addictions impair the lives of millions of men and women across the world.
However, recent research has determined that women will not only abuse drugs and alcohol differently but will face a somewhat different addiction recovery than men.
How Many Women Seek Treatment for Addictions?
A report published by The National Drug Treatment Monitoring System in 2020 highlighted that 83,015 women had sought treatment for an addiction between 2018 and 2019.
Offering a breakdown of the substances that treatment was required for determined that approximately 30,000 of women in recovery sought rehabilitation assistance for an alcohol addiction, 38,000 women sought treatment for opiate addictions, and 6,868 women sought treatment for non-opiate addictions.
In addition to the above, it was reported that 7,700 women sought treatment for a combined addiction that had led them to become addicted to non-opiate drugs and alcohol.
How Are Addictions Different for Women?
As touched on above, men and women are both at risk of developing
drug and alcohol addictions. However, the substance consumed, side effects experienced, and the rate at which addictions develop are somewhat different.
Although both men and women will feel the short and long-term ramifications that addictions have, drug and alcohol addictions are more likely to impair a women’s mental health. Research highlights that when an addiction is present, women are more suspect to panic attacks, anxiety disorders, hallucinations, states of depression and extreme fatigue.
Furthermore, the long-term side effects of addictions are more likely to impair a woman’s overall health. When considering alcohol addictions, research determines that alcohol-related deaths in women are at least 50% higher than they are in men.
In addition to the difference in the side-effects, it is believed that addictions in women develop much more rapidly than they do in men. Consuming even a small number of drugs or alcohol on an infrequent basis can cause women to experience cravings which develop into an addiction.
Why Do Women Turn to Substances?
While men’s addictions often arise from binge drinking, social situations and post-traumatic stress disorder, the National Institute on Drug Abuse highlights that women are more likely to become addicted to substances because they believe it will increase their energy levels.
Furthermore, women are at greater risk of developing insomnia, anxiety, depression and heightened stress levels throughout their life. This sadly causes many to turn to opiates and alcohol to manage and cope with their everyday life.
Women in Addiction Recovery. Is It Different?
As it becomes increasingly evident that women will abuse and become addicted to substances to reduce the side effects of mental health disorders, it is crucial to understand how addiction recovery may differ for women.
Women in Addiction Recovery Are More Susceptible To Cravings
Regardless of gender, individuals suffering from drug or alcohol addictions are likely to experience cravings when withdrawing from a substance. However, female reproductive hormones, including Estrogen and Progesterone, cause women to experience stronger cravings. Unfortunately, the intensity of cravings can lead to a more substantial amount of drugs or alcohol to be consumed.
Although cravings will be experienced when professional support is sought from a private rehab, they will be managed. In turn, this will ensure that individuals can successfully withdraw from the substance they have become addicted to, and make a long-term recovery.
Women Are More Likely to Relapse
As touched on above, women in addiction recovery are much more susceptible to cravings. Unfortunately, cravings often come hand in hand with relapses.
Without professional support, should a woman attempt to withdraw from a substance, intense cravings are likely to arise. The intensity of the cravings experienced may be so severe that women are unable to cope, causing them to relapse.
Women Defer Treatment for Addiction Recovery
Although men are thought to be more hesitant to admit that they have an addiction to drugs or alcohol, research confirms that women are more likely to defer treatment for their drug or alcohol addiction.
Much of the research conducted determines that women defer treatment due to the stigmas and backlash they may face if they admit to having a drug or alcohol addiction. Women are also more likely to avoid treatment due to family responsibilities.
Unfortunately, deferring treatment for substance addictions can sadly cause an addiction to become more severe. It can also cause long-term side effects to arise.
Women Are More Likely to Require Dual Diagnosis Treatment
Research conducted by the World Health Organisation determines that mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, extreme stress and post-traumatic stress disorder are more persistent in women, then they are men.
To mitigate the impact that a mental health disorder has, rather than seek professional support, women will turn drugs and alcohol to relieve themselves of the pessimistic thoughts and feelings that they encounter.
Unfortunately, this means that when it comes to seeking treatment, women are more likely to require dual diagnosis treatment than men are.
Contact Step One Recovery for Addiction Recovery Support
As outlined above, it is clear to see that women in addiction recovery face a more significant number of obstacles than men may face as they progress through their addiction recovery.
If you are silently suffering from a drug or alcohol addiction and you believe that it is time to seek support, please do not hesitate to contact us.
At Step One Recovery, we can ensure that you obtain the treatment you need to overcome your addiction at one of our private treatment centres in the United Kingdom.
While the thought of treatment may be daunting, our treatment centres can provide you with addiction recovery tools and a relapse prevention plan to ensure that you make a long-term recovery.
Likewise, if you know someone that is suffering from a drug or alcohol addiction, and you believe that they require treatment, please feel free to reach out to us. We can help you refer them to one of our rehabs for the treatment they need.
Simply call us today on 0330 107 2950 to determine how we can support you now and in the future.