While people are increasingly aware of alcohol’s unique impact on women, few are as knowledgeable about the distinctive ways that drugs impact women. An excellent article by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) explores three ways drug abuse affects women differently than men.
1.) Internal Impact
While the symptoms of drug addiction in men tend to be more external, women tend to experience heavier internal symptoms like anxiety, shame and depression, the article explained. In other words, the psychological impact of drugs on women tends to be more intense than in men.
Women may turn to drugs to cope with anxiety or depression and may be more likely to feel deep shame when they find themselves in a spiral of addiction. Men, on the other hand, tend to have more visible symptoms of drug addiction, such as aggressive driving, fighting and assault.
2.) Impact on Pregnancy
Women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant face a double danger that men do not face when abusing drugs. Not only can illegal drugs and abused prescription drugs hurt the woman, but the drug use can also harm the baby.
Use of illicit drugs during pregnancy is associated with everything from low birth weight to developmental issues that could permanently impact the baby’s behavior and cognitive abilities. If a woman becomes pregnant but cannot stop abusing drugs, this may lead to increased anxiety, depression and shame.
3.) Greater Potential for Prescription Drug Abuse
Recent research shows that health care professionals are more likely to prescribe narcotics and anti-anxiety drugs to women than to men, the article noted. These drugs have a high potential for abuse and in some cases continue to be refilled unnecessarily for decades after they were first prescribed for even temporary health problems. As women continue to take prescription drugs for years on end, they may fail to realize that they have become addicted and that they are suffering from the effects of that addiction.
About Residence XII
Residence XII offers drug treatment that helps to empower women while leading them on their journey toward recovery. At Residence XII, we welcome all women (+18) and aim to provide the highest quality inpatient alcohol treatment available. We provide free assessments and references for women seeking more information about alcohol dependency. Residence XII also offers outpatient alcohol treatment programs and family treatment programs. Residence XII is State Licensed by CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) and a member of the NAATP (National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers).