Women, Addictions and Sobriety

Women are just as susceptible as men when it comes to addiction to drugs and alcohol. Addiction comes in many forms and affects a multitude of people of all ages and genders. There is not an immunity to addiction, just some individuals may have better-coping skills or support systems for coping.

Research has shown that women are increasingly prone to addiction than men are, and evidence has surfaced to explain why this is. Women and men function differently physiologically, and substances affect each gender in different ways.

 

What factors contribute to sobriety difficulty in women?

Women are seen in many roles and have assumed even more in recent years. Roles span across from homemakers to career women and everything between brings with it their own stresses and struggles. The pressure put on women today to be “superhuman” and “do it all” can be overwhelming, overbearing and cause women to seek other alternatives to escape their daily lives or help meet the demands required of them.

  • Caretaker – women are generally seen as the caretaker of their families as well as the nurturers. Even women with demanding careers still have these expectations required of them, and it can be daunting.
  • Treatment – men typically have easier access to treatment than women due to a double standard of treatment and addictions themselves being more of a “men’s disease” than women.
  • Stereotypes – women are typically seen as caretakers for everyone else. So when a woman has a substance abuse problem, they are shunned and very little understanding.
  • Normalization – women have normalized alcohol and drugs, especially in the suburbs, to cope with the demands of everyday life as well as an additive to social activities.
  • Custody and Fear – women in custody battles or pending divorces involving children become very fearful at the thought of losing their children and may seek coping alternatives.
  • Pregnancy – women and pregnancy, and atypical situations can lead to a woman being punished or labelled a certain way that can lead to coping issues. Treatment is complicated due to the fetus and prenatal care.
  • Quicker development – due to coping issues and the demands of women in today’s day and age, women typically develop addictions more quickly and severely compared to men.

What are the tips to help women achieve sobriety?

Multiple women in recovery have contributed to other women currently in treatment and provide not only great support and resources but also provide great insight to overcome the disease of addiction.

  • Reduce stigma by being open and honest
  • Anything used to cope with situations can become an addiction
  • Turn your struggle into your triumph
  • Make self-care a priority because no one else will
  • Vocalize and work through your pain

Other tips for successful sobriety are:

  • Find ways to enjoy your new life in recovery
  • Build new, healthy relationships
  • Change and improve your physical health
  • Find faith in a higher power
  • Join a support group
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help, it’s not a sign of weakness

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