Addiction in Women

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Addiction in Women

Substance misuse and abuse are prevalent nationwide. Both men and women are affected by substance abuse and addiction. However, the condition presents differently in these genders.

Until recent decades, people thought that men struggle more with alcohol and drug abuse than women. However, this belief may stem from predominantly male-focused sample populations. Substance abuse and addiction in women has received more in-depth study in recent years.

While both genders face challenges, some are more particular to women. At Detox West Tennessee, we understand that it’s not always easy being a woman. We know that addiction makes this all the more challenging. We make sure that each client receives the unique attention they deserve, along with our universal compassionate approach.

Addiction in Women – Facts and Statistics

  • According to Medical Clinics of North America, the fastest-growing population of substance abusers in the U.S is women.
  • SAMHSA reports that over 15 percent of women (19.5 million) aged 18 and over have used illicit drugs in the past year.
  • According to SAMHSA, 6.6 percent of women (8.4 million) aged 18 and over have misused prescription drugs in the past year.
  • Psychiatric Clinics of North America reports that women are more likely than men to use alcohol in times of stress and difficult or negative emotions.

Co-occurring SUD and Mental Health Issues in Women

According to a report published in Psychiatric Clinics of North America, women are more likely than men to suffer from co-occurring substance use disorder and mental health issues. Depression, anxiety, panic, eating disorders, polydrug use, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are more common in women than men.

Substance abuse then increases because the use of drugs and alcohol may serve to help women cope with these issues, according to a separate report in Psychiatric Clinics of North America.

Here at Detox West Tennessee, we ensure that each client undergoes a comprehensive health assessment before beginning treatment. Assessments let us determine the specific needs of each client and optimize treatment outcomes.

The tendency to use drugs to cope with these issues complicates addiction treatment. Treatment for co-occurring substance use disorder and mental health issues requires targeted treatment that addresses both conditions.

If you only treat the SUD but ignore the mental health condition, treatment will not be effective. Similarly, if you treat the mental health condition but ignore the SUD, it will likely not work. Mental health conditions can affect SUDs and vice versa. A holistic approach that looks at mental health and substance use is much more effective.

Female-specific Addiction Treatment

At Detox West Tennessee, we tailor our programs to suit the needs of the women who walk through our doors. We offer programs to provide the most appropriate, evidence-based treatment. By entering into one of our custom detox programs, women can benefit from compassionately led treatment that focuses on their specific needs.

Our treatment programs include female-led group therapy sessions and one-to-one therapy sessions with a female counselor.

We also have group discussions about issues that affect women regarding addiction, such as:

  • Motherhood
  • Societal expectations
  • Behavioral changes related to hormonal fluctuation
  • Challenges in the workplace

Group therapy and group discussion allow for freedom of expression and increased trust, which may be harder to achieve in a non-sympathetic program.

Consequences of Addiction in Women

Both men and women are subject to a range of health and social consequences when they struggle with substance use, such as:

  • Legal and financial issues
  • Mental and behavioral health issues
  • Malnutrition

While there are shared consequences to substance use between both genders, some are specific to women These include:

Physical Health Issues

SAMHSA reports that women who abuse substances are more likely than men to suffer adverse physical health issues. These include heart problems and stress-related conditions. According to the Western Journal of Emergency Medicine, women are also more likely to visit emergency rooms post-substance use.

Sexual Assault

Sexual Assault can happen to anyone. Still, women with substance use issues may be more susceptible. This may be due to vulnerable states of consciousness entered following substance misuse and dangerous environments related to illicit drugs.

According to research in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, most women surveyed who had a history of substance abuse also had a history of rape.

Pregnancy Complications

If a woman uses substances while pregnant, she and the baby are subject to adverse health issues. The woman may experience extremely high blood pressure, migraines, and even seizures. The baby is subject to low birth weight and a range of congenital disabilities, developmental issues, and premature birth.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports a much higher risk of stillbirth in babies when the mother uses nicotine or cannabis, prescription drugs, or other drugs while pregnant.

Barriers to Effective Treatment

Statistically, women are less likely than men to seek addiction treatment.

This may be due to several factors that act as barriers to treatment, including but not limited to:

  • Social stigma
  • Lack of interpersonal support
  • Childcare and financial responsibilities

Change Your Life Today

Addiction Treatment Programs at Detox West Tennessee

At Detox West Tennessee, we help women affected by addiction find their feet in recovery and start their substance-free life. We understand the complexities that face women in addiction treatment. As such, we are committed to providing compassionate, non-judgmental care to each of our clients.

We know that addiction can affect anyone, regardless of gender, socioeconomic status, and career type.

Experts lead our female-specific addiction treatment programs in addiction and mental health. All our staff are informed about women’s issues. They can facilitate an in-depth, insightful group discussion about the issues women face today.

The sense of community and collaboration is a powerful aspect of our treatment programs, which many clients have deeply appreciated.

Detox and Withdrawal

Detox is a crucial first step in addiction recovery. Detox is the process by which the body begins to heal after prolonged substance misuse. The more we use substances, the more our bodies become dependent on the chemicals to function.

The body must eliminate these chemicals and break the dependency to return to health. This process of chemical elimination is a difficult and challenging time. Individuals are subject to a broad range of psychical and psychological withdrawal symptoms.

These include:

  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety, panic
  • Depression
  • Hot and cold sweats
  • Increased heart rate
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle tension
  • Nausea
  • Despair, hopelessness
  • Shakes, tremors

The symptoms experienced during withdrawal vary depending on the type of drug and how long you used it. Withdrawal can be overwhelming, and without appropriate care, can lead to relapse.

At Detox West Tennessee, we provide each client with a fully medically supervised detox program. Medical and psychiatric support is available around the clock, and clients are supervised throughout the detox process. We use medication when necessary to ease symptoms or to aid the process.


After detox, the next stage of your addiction recovery journey is rehabilitation. Rehabilitation involves therapy and aims to help you get to the root cause of your substance use.

Rehabilitation helps clients develop the skills needed to tolerate distress and find healthy coping mechanisms when life gets challenging. Our female clients can benefit from female-specific group therapy to discuss women’s issues freely and openly.

Contact Us

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, please contact us today. We can arrange for an initial health assessment and tailor a detox and rehab program that suits your unique needs as a woman. Reaching out for help can be daunting, but it is a crucial step on the path back to a healthy, happy life.

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