Women can and do recover from addiction. Women are typically more willing than men to seek treatment for substance abuse. But when it comes to women and addiction treatment programs, the program they choose should be able to address issues pertinent to them. Addiction in women is different from addiction in men. Substance abuse treatment cannot be a one-size-fits-all if it is to be most effective. Call 833.551.2304 to speak with someone from the caring and compassionate team at Gulf Breeze Recovery about women’s addiction treatment in Florida.
How Is Addiction Different for Women?
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 19.5 million females ages 18 or older have used illicit drugs in the past year. The term “illicit” refers to using illegal drugs, including marijuana, according to federal law, and misuse of prescription medications. That use can result in drug addiction more quickly for women than men. Women become addicted faster, even when using smaller amounts and for shorter periods than their male counterparts.
Although the specific substance abuse and personal details can lead to different experiences, common issues women deal with when struggling with addiction are related to the following:
- Hormones and menstrual cycle
Some of the most commonly identified reasons women abuse substances include fighting exhaustion, controlling weight, managing pain, or self-medicating mental health issues such as depression or anxiety.
Alcohol Abuse and Addiction in Women
Alcohol is a substance that women develop a dependence on more quickly than men. Other notable facts about alcohol use as it relates to women include:
- Alcohol-related problems such as brain atrophy and liver damage occur more quickly in females.
- Biological factors are critical to women’s higher rates of susceptibility to alcohol.
- Women’s bodies have more fatty tissue and less water than men’s bodies. Water dilutes alcohol, while fat retains alcohol, causing more significant exposure to women’s organs.
Two enzymes that break down alcohol in the stomach and liver, alcohol dehydrogenase and aldehyde dehydrogenase, occur at more significant levels for men than for women, allowing more alcohol that a woman drinks to pass into the bloodstream. In contrast, men process more of it out of their system.
Alcohol abuse also has negative consequences for women beyond addiction. If a woman is pregnant and continues to drink alcohol, the effects on her baby can be devastating—and the child can develop fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). This syndrome is characterized by various physical, mental, and behavioral issues that can have lifelong consequences.
Co-Occurring Conditions in Women
Research continues to discover how very different drug and alcohol addiction is for women. For example, life circumstances such as physical and sexual trauma resulting in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are more common in women who abuse drugs and seek treatment than in their male counterparts.
Women’s underlying issues when using drugs or alcohol are complex and unique. Women seeking treatment for substance abuse need to find a program tailored to their particular needs, from addressing mental health concerns such as PTSD and depression to providing specialized medical care if needed.
What Is Gender-Specific Treatment for Addiction?
Gender-specific treatment for women refers to substance abuse programs that allow them to share their addiction experiences with other women in a safe, supportive environment. This type of program can be beneficial because women feel more comfortable discussing sensitive topics such as sexual trauma or eating disorders without the presence of men. Drug and alcohol counseling, medical treatment, and lifestyle education are all tailored to women’s needs.
Gulf Breeze Recovery is a premier gender-specific addiction treatment center in Florida that provides women with an individualized approach to recovery.
Find Addiction Treatment for Women in Florida at Gulf Breeze Recovery
Gulf Breeze Recovery is aware that addiction in women is different from addiction in men. Our caring and compassionate staff of experienced professionals offers women’s addiction treatment in Florida. Contact Gulf Breeze Recovery today at 833.551.2304 to learn more. We help people not just to survive but to thrive.