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Drug Addiction in Women

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Drug addiction in women is a serious and rising problem that needs to be addressed in a different way than drug addiction in men.

It has only been in the last few decades that drug addiction in women has begun to be studied and researched as a separate entity, and the findings have been incredibly beneficial to the treatment of drug addiction in women. It is important to look at these differences and use them in order to most effectively treat women.

Drug Addiction in Women: Physical Differences

One of the first and biggest differences in drug addiction in women, as opposed to men, is biological. When drugs are used, the positive effect mostly comes from a chemical called dopamine being released into the brain when the drug is used.

This is also what initially causes the brain to judge the drug as something that is essential to the body, as dopamine is generally used to reward the body for positive or survival things, such as food and sex.

Recent studies done by neuroscientists show that estrogen may play a key role in how much dopamine is delivered to the brain and that the amount of dopamine delivered to a woman’s brain varies with her menstrual cycle.

This may be part of the reason that women are known to become addicted more quickly than men. Women can often become addicted over less time and after consuming less of a substance than men.

In addition, the negative health consequences of drug abuse take place faster and with less abuse.  Because of this difference, it is extremely important that drug addiction in women be treated early. Drug addiction in women is a progressive disease, only getting worse over time and the sooner treatment is received the better.

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Drug Addiction in Women: Root Cause

Other large differences in drug addiction in women can be in the reasons they take drugs in the first place. Women are far more likely to use drugs to self-medicate. Women may begin taking drugs to deal with a difficult situation or when suffering from issues such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder in order to feel better.

Men are far more likely to take drugs socially. The reasons that a person begins taking the substance they are addicted to is very important to take into account during treatment.

Thanks to attention shifting from generalizing addiction as a man’s problem and learning more about drug addiction in women, treatment can be more effective for women.

Women are shown to do better than men in maintaining sobriety, after attending a drug rehab program, especially one that is specifically tailored to their needs, such as Destination Hope.

By personalizing treatment and dealing specifically with the unique issues that come with drug addiction in women, addicts have a higher success rate of maintaining long-term sobriety. If you or someone you care about is suffering from addiction, please call our counselors and let us help.

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