Women and men are different, and experts are increasingly identifying gender as an important component that influences addiction treatment and outcome.
Failure to address this compromises recovery.
- The effects of drug addiction and alcoholism are very different for women and men;
- Physical and psychological responses to drugs and alcohol are also different;
- Female alcohol and substance use tends to lead to low self-esteem and depression;
- Men are more likely to struggle with a sense of failure and isolation.
Gender: Differing Patterns of Poly-Drug Addiction
- Females and males aged 15-24 tend to use marijuana and stimulants combined with alcohol or hallucinogens such as mushrooms or LSD;
- Females over 30 prefer to combine alcohol, marijuana, benzodiazepines and sleep mediations;
- Males, aged 20-30 combine cocaine and prescription stimulants with alcohol or opioids;
- Males over the age of 30 tend to use prescription opioids, alcohol and sedatives
Did you Know?
- Women who develop substance abuse problems tend to develop them later in life and recovery rates are higher than men;
- Women are older than men are when they begin drinking to intoxication, but once they develop a pattern of regular intoxication, they lose control over their drinking more quickly than men;
- Women have a higher incidence of Dual Diagnosis.
- When women develop substance abuse problems, they report problems of greater severity and experience more health-related consequences;
- Women’s problems related to substance abuse interfere with functioning in more areas of life than men’s do;
Women alcohol and substance users are twice as likely to have thoughts or attempt suicide…men are three times as likely to actually kill themselves… men’s attempts are more violent and often involve weapons while women generally use pills
- Women in substance abuse treatment are less likely to relapse during treatment than men;
- Women who complete treatment are nine times more likely to be abstinent than women who do not;
- Men and women are equally likely to complete treatment;
- Men who complete treatment are three times more likely to be abstinent than men who do not.
Pregnancy and Addictions
“Approximately 1 Baby Every Hour or 4-6 of Every 1,000 Hospital Births Is Born Addicted To Opioid Drugs”
Women addicted to opioids have better fetal outcomes when their addiction is treated.
- Alcohol and drugs can damage a developing fetus and should not be used by women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. The use of alcohol and drugs during pregnancy can be life threatening to both the woman and the fetus;
- The damage caused by prenatal alcohol and substance use includes short and long physical, learning and neurobehavioral problems that may not be apparent for months or years after birth and may be irreversible;
- As little as one alcoholic drink per day can result in poorer spelling and reading abilities at age ;.
- Any regular alcohol use results in poorer age matched arithmetic test scores and the more used the worse the outcomes.
Addiction Specialists Work With Your Obstetrician
Addiction Specialists are trained medical specialists skilled at evaluating and treating complex Substance Use Disorders in women who are pregnant or trying to conceive;
Coordination of treatment with your Obstetrician and Addiction Psychiatrist decreases the risk complications for mother:
- Spontaneous abortion;
- Premature labor;
- Higher rates of Emergency Caesarian Section.
Coordination of care reduces the risks to newborns of:
- Low birth weight;
- Birth defects;
- Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome – Increased Irritability, Seizures And Breathing Problems;
- Fetal Alcohol syndrome;
- Prolonged stays in neonatal intensive care units and delayed discharge home.