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Substance Abuse in Women

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Substance abuse in women is an issue that has only really gotten the attention that it deserves in the last few years. Prior to that, the majority of substance abuse research was geared toward studying the problem in only men and because of this, substance abuse rehab programs were also geared toward treating men.

Now that substance abuse in women is being properly studied, however, there is new insight into the specific needs of women and better substance abuse treatment designed specifically with their needs in mind.

Women are estimated to make up 40 percent of the alcoholic population of the United States, while only 25 percent of those who seek help are women. The major gap in these numbers shows the rising need for even more attention to substance abuse programs and especially education and programs for treatment.

With the increase of women-focused addiction treatment programs, hopefully more women will feel comfortable seeking treatment and the gap will decrease.

Substance abuse in women is a progressive problem meaning the longer it goes on the worse the effects become. Because of this, it’s important to catch substance abuse in women early and get proper care. If you suspect that someone you know is suffering from substance abuse, it is likely that they will be secretive about their problem but there are some signs you can watch for.

  • Changes in social group – Often if a person is abusing substances, they may withdraw from friends who do not in order to avoid revealing their problem. They may be withdrawing in order to hide, or begin hanging out with others who also abuse drugs depending on the situation.
  • Change in performance at work or school – This may include overall performance such as grades or productivity, or it may relate to attendance. Substance abuse in women can affect performance and also make the priorities of the person abusing them change.
  • Money – If the person abusing substances has a limited income, it is possible to notice behavior changes involving money. In order to get money to buy more drugs or alcohol, a person may begin borrowing, stealing or selling items that they own.
  • Mood changes – Substance abuse affects a person’s mood and emotions. Substance abuse in women often causes angry or other emotional outbursts or a general change in personality. Mood swings are common.
  • Secretive activity – Most women will try to hide their problem with substance abuse. If it seems that they are hiding something such as secretive texts or phone calls, frequent trips to the restroom or leaving without explaining where they have been, it could be a sign of substance abuse.
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The effects of substance abuse in women can be quite different than they are in men, which is why specialized rehab programs for women, like Destination Hope: The Women’s Program, are so important. We provide comprehensive treatment for women that is specifically designed to meet their needs in a supportive and comfortable environment. If you or a loved on is suffering from substance abuse, please call our counselors today.

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