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Women and Illicit Drug Abuse

Happiness, Health, Stress

Women and Illicit Drug Abuse


Illicit drug addiction is a chronic illness which can affect almost anyone. It could be a parent, a spouse, a teen, or even a child. However, the ones who are fastest drawn to the addiction are women because of their inability to cope with stress, depression, anxiety, or any other kind of trauma.

She could be your best friend, your sister, your co-worker, or even your daughter.

Did you know?

Every three minutes, a woman is rushed to the emergency department because of prescription painkiller misuse or abuse.  Women between the ages of 25 – 54 are most likely to visit the emergency room because of illicit drug or substance abuse.

So, what is it that leads our women to go ahead and choose the life of drug addiction when they can live a happier, healthier, and peaceful life.

As a notable women’s recovery center quotes-

“For many patients, substance abuse is directly correlated with underlying disorders. Our program is designed to treat the root cause, including conditions like anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders, so that clients can achieve lasting sobriety.”

Here are some reasons which we should know about if we ever want to help our loved ones to come out of their intoxicated and painful state of mind and body.

Reasons leading to the addiction

reasons-leading-to-drug-addiction.There are a number of risk factors that push a person into developing a fixation on drugs. The more these risk factors apply to you or your loved one, the higher is the potential of getting into the vicious  cycle. Some of the risk factors that play a major role are.

1. Family History :

If anyone in your family, a close relative, has had an addiction issue then the likelihood that other people may also follow in the footsteps are high. When it comes to substance or drug abuse, genetic factors usually come into play.

2. Weak Family Ties:

Anyone with weak family ties or those who do not have a supportive family relationship are at a higher risk of drug or alcohol addiction as compared to those who have strong family relationships.

3. Starting Age:

If someone started using drugs or alcohol at a very young age as an experiment then they have a higher risk of becoming addicted than those who started at a later age.

4. Loneliness:

Not having anyone to talk to or be friends with, can lead a person to take the help of substances to help cope with their negative emotions.

5. Peer Pressure:

This is one of the most important factors that leads to addiction only because someone wants to fit in with a group or to be felt accepted by its members. Peer pressure leads to experimentation which can eventually lead to addiction.

6. High Stress Levels:

An alarming percentage of 55%-99% of women in the drug treatment programs reported that they had experienced either physical or sexual trauma. High stress levels, especially in women, is one of the greatest pushes to start the use of substances.

Effects of Drug Abuse

physiological effects of drug abuse

The longer that drug/substance addiction lasts, the more stress and strain it puts on an individual. There are numerous long-term physical and emotional effects that are caused due to the addiction that can easily convert a healthy man or woman into a frail shadow of their former self.

Here are some common long-term psychological and physical effects of drug addiction:

a. Depression: As a person develops tolerance to drugs, it will take more amounts of drugs to get a high. In the process if the person is unable to achieve their desired state of euphoria, it leads to chronic depression because the drug addict starts to feel ashamed and remorseful about her condition. This creates a cycle of addiction. The more depressed a drug addict feels, the more they would need to continue the usage of drugs.

•b. Paranoia: Individuals with a cocaine or marijuana addiction often report a feeling of paranoia. They are always under the feeling that everyone wants to hurt them and this feeling is heightened by the fact that buying or using drugs is illegal and the belief that law enforcement is waiting around every corner. Over time, drug addicts get more and more paranoid if not treated.

•c. Anxiety:  In their wait for another the next dose of drugs, many addicts will begin to feel anxious or unsettled. Many have trouble sitting still or staying focused on a single task. This anxiety and lack of focus results in a slack on job responsibilities and some even end up losing their jobs. Due to the anxiety attacks, many addicts affect their relationship with loved ones

Physical Effects of Drug Addiction

Other than the physiological issues, drug addicts also face numerous physical health issues from the long-term drug addiction. Some of the common ones are as follows-

a. The kidneys

b. The liver

c. The heart

•d. The lungs

An additional danger other than the physiological and physical effects is the tolerance that is built-up towards the use of drugs. Though it does not sound bad, tolerance is dangerous  because it leads a drug user to want and use more drugs to achieve the desired euphoric or stimulated state. Most overdoses and deaths happen due to this tolerance.

Another thing to keep in mind is that when on drugs, an individual will never going to look their best. Here are a few ways drugs affect your looks and body

How To Help The Women We Love


Both men and women can be treated of the illicit drug addiction via addiction treatment programs. However,  the way men and women these treatment programs can differ to a great extent.

It is a possibility that men agree to go into treatment because they are forced to do so, whereas women go into treatment because they ask for help with another issue. it is possible to motivate both men and women to improve their lifestyles, but the way of reaching out to them and asking them to enter the their programs can be quite different. Another point to keep in mind is that there can be implications on the way they heal.

Withdrawal may also be more intense for women. In some cases, women respond differently than men to certain treatments. For instance, nicotine replacement patch or gum does not work as well for women as for men.

Remember, if you want to help the woman you love, that women in treatment often need support for handling the burdens of work, home care, child care, and other family responsibilities. If not then their mind will remain distracted and stressed leading to a never ending cycle of drug abuse.


If you are a woman and you are reading this, understand that you do not require drugs to get over whatever that you are feeling right now. It is understandable that life throws a number of problems towards us and we can only bear it up to a certain extent, However, know that drugs will only give you temporary relief. Keep yourself motivated to stay fit, and you can keep yourself off of drugs.

If you are a family member and you are reading this and you know that a member of your family or friends is doing drugs, then reach out your hands and try to help. But, remember that you cannot do it on your own and so ask for help from a rehabilitation center. Talk to your loved ones and bond with them.

Don’t do drugs and don’t let anyone you know fall into the trap. 

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