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The Myths of Women and Addiction

For many years, the rates of female alcoholics and drug addicts has followed that of male alcoholics and addicts. When Alcoholics Anonymous was published, there were but one or two female members. The book was written by men for men with little mention of female alcoholics other than to say they are out there, and they are the real deal. 2016 brought research and statistics which revealed that women are closing the gender gap on males when it comes to alcoholism. Among drug abusers in the United States, women are a rapidly growing population. At least 31 women die of opioid overdose every day in the united states. More than 200,000 women die each year as a result of misusing drugs.

Women Don’t Struggle With Mental Health

Drug and alcohol addiction is often a byproduct of mental health disorders. From adolescence and teenage hood to their 20s and 30s, women have hormones and life expectations that are constantly changing. Puberty brings the menstrual cycle which prepares women to give birth and eventually brings them to premenopausal, menopause, and peri-menopause. Constantly changing hormones and very common hormonal imbalances can lead to a variety of mental health struggles, which can in turn lead to drug and alcohol abuse. Women are more likely to struggle with mood disorders. Women are also more likely to experience trauma in their formative years, which can lead to the development of mental health issues. Sexual abuse and sexual assault in women is astronomically higher than it is in men. Women are also forced into societal roles, standards, and expectations which can take a toll on her mental health as well.

Women Have More Access To Treatment

It is proven to be true that women are more likely to ask for help than men and more likely to seek treatment for their drug and alcohol addiction or their mental health struggles than men. Asking for help is just one part of the equation. Women face unthinkable challenges in seeking recovery for themselves. Single mothers don’t have the financial means to take time off and go to treatment. Mothers who cannot make accommodations for their children cannot leave home. Women who have been the victims of sexual abuse are uncomfortable in co-ed treatment centers and often face long wait lists to get into all-female treatment centers.

Making treatment more accessible to women is critical. Recovery doesn’t stop after primary care.