It’s no question that there are dozens of addiction myths out there which make it harder than ever before to help heal those who need it. However, there are some specifically about women that shame these people who seek to recovery from substance abuse.
Shame, Pressure, and Addiction Myths
“Women grow up with different cultural mores and process feelings differently, and in some cases appear to be more biologically susceptible to some addictions.” Obviously, there are differences between the genders that will shape their entire lives, but there are some specific variations that change how women experience issues of substance abuse. Addiction myths are harmful to all, so a deeper understanding of the truth behind the myth is necessary to overcome these rumors.
For one thing, a lot of people believe that it’s easier for men to become addicted than women, but this isn’t the truth. It may have been more of a social norm, once, for men to use drugs more than women, but nowadays, both partake in their use and become addicted. “An estimated 4.5 million women have a substance use disorder, 3.5 million misuse prescription drugs, and 3.1 million regularly use illicit drugs.” That is an enormous number, one that cannot be overlooked because of gender.
One of the biggest addiction myths is that both men and women become addicted to substances for the same reasons. Considering how different their brain chemistry is, this is clearly untrue. For example, women are more likely to suffer from mental disorders like depression and anxiety, which can lead to self-medication with opioids or other drugs. Women are also more vulnerable to the effects of stress, again leading to the use of drugs to soften the effects. There’s no doubt that women, too, feel more pressure on and offline to act and look a certain way, facing kinds of unique social pressures that men do not face. This is yet another driving force behind their turning to drugs or alcohol.
Not only do stigmas haunt women before addiction, but they follow them after, too. Men and women who are suffering from substance abuse, who may be in similar situations, are often not viewed or judged in the same way. Since women can also play the role of mother and/or caretaker, a woman with an addiction can be viewed as neglectful or abusive, whereas a man is thought of as an individual first, and not a father. Addiction myths shine a harsh light on these women and often prevent them from getting the kind of help that they need. Also, “studies show that women get addicted to drugs faster and experience an accelerated progression from the initiation of substance use to the onset of dependence.” That means that there is no lesser risk associated with women and addiction and that they are in as much danger as men who abuse drugs or alcohol.
If you or someone you care about is looking for help in recovering from an addiction of any kind, then contact The Bergand Group. We offer recovery programs for yourself or for others or are seeking education materials about addictions. The Bergand Group is Maryland’s leading addiction recovery center and offers support for those struggling with addiction and mental health issues, including direction for those who may be denying an addiction. We can help you to work through your addiction in a safe and healthy environment where everyone is committed to your care.
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About The Bergand Group:
At The Bergand Group in Baltimore and Harford County, Maryland, our therapists have more than twenty years of experience in the mental health and addiction fields. Our focus is on providing comprehensive mental health care and appropriate care for addictive disorders. We offer both alcohol rehab and drug rehabilitation. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or substance addiction, there is help available. We also offer several other services, including family therapy and counseling. We can help. Contact us today.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]