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Gender And Addiction Recovery

Gender And Addiction Recovery

Leaps and bounds have been made in the addiction recovery field in the past decade. But yet, drug addiction continues to grow as an epidemic throughout the country – particularly among women. Does gender play a part in addiction, and drug rehab? Here is what you need to know before you seek drug rehab in Winnipeg.

Although drug and alcohol abuse and addiction have primarily been linked to men in the past, in recent years, there has been a narrowing of the gap between genders. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, women addicted to heroin, for example, has doubled between 2002 and 2013. This is why gender matters when it comes to addiction and recovery.


Women are biologically predisposed to become addicted faster

Women’s bodies, on average, contain less water than men’s bodies – making drugs in women’s bodies less diluted. Women also have more fatty tissues, which lead to higher levels of retention. Further, women have lower levels of specific enzymes, leading to the slower breakdown of substances. As a function of all these biological differences, women are exposed to the drugs for a longer period of time and at a higher levels, making it easier for women to become addicted.

Childhood sexual abuse can be a factor in addiction

According to research conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, women who were victims of sexual abuse as children were up to three times as likely to report drug and alcohol dependence in their adult lives. While sexual abuse can occur to males or females, it is more common in females and typically has a stronger correlation to substance abuse in females.

Higher access to addictive medication

Women are more likely to seek out medication – or self-medicate – for emotional and psychological issues, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or eating disorders.

Stress related to family responsibilities and body image management can lead to addictive medication

Women often are in a position of juggling family life and careers, which can be very demanding and stressful. Therefore, they are more prone to turn to addictive drugs to help them appear as though they are managing both spheres well and effortlessly, when that is in fact not the case. Women are also more likely to use stimulants, such as cocaine or amphetamines, to suppress hunger or manage their weight.

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