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The Problem of Women and Recreational Drug Use in America

As the years pass us by, drug and alcohol addiction becomes more of a problem for our nation’s women than it ever has been before.  Now, we live in a country that struggles intensively with substance abuse to the degree of it being a regular occurrence in some demographics, and an accepted standard in many others.  The increase in nationwide substance abuse has occurred across the boards as far as demographics go, but no demographic has been harmed as severely as women have. When we speak of women and recreational drug use, we realize that women across America struggle with drug addiction to such a degree that it takes many women away from their families, sometimes for good.

Statistics on Women and Recreational Drug Use

There is no doubt that drug abuse statistics are rising, as the trend has been stable for more than a decade.  And yet, when we look even further we can see that it is the specific demographics that have shown such significant increases in substance abuse statistics that the great need for remediation is present. When it comes to women and recreational drug use, there are now fifteen-million women who abuse drugs and alcohol, whereas twenty years ago there were far less than that.  With fifteen-million addicted though, that is almost thirteen percent of all women of the age of eighteen or older, and the numbers on that are just getting worse with each passing year.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine in association with the National Institutes of Health performed a fascinating study on the relationship of substance abuse to gender.  They studied each decade, taking the study several decades back, to examine how addiction has affected men and women.  Here is their summary of where this problem is heading:

“Gender differences in rates of substance abuse have been consistently observed in the general population and treatment-seeking samples, with men exhibiting significantly higher rates of substance use, abuse, and dependence.  However, recent epidemiological surveys suggest that this gap between men and women has narrowed in recent decades. For example, surveys in the early 1980s estimated the male/female ratio of alcohol-use disorders as 5:1, in contrast to more recent surveys that report a ratio of approximately 3:1.”

This summary shows the trend for precisely what it is, a leveling of the playing field so to speak, and a clear distinction of increasing substance abuse among women, while substance abuse among men stays relatively the same.  Recreational drug users are now almost just as likely to be female as they are to be male. Particularly in the case of women and recreational drug use, prescription drug abuse is more likely to be a woman’s problem than a man’s in present-day America.

Recreational Use of Drugs

For most, drug use first starts with the recreational use of drugs.  Most drug users start as recreational drug users and then transition out from that and into a more regular substance abuse pattern.  Women and recreational drug use usually transition very quickly into regular substance abuse if the recreational use is not first addressed rapidly.  Women, generally speaking, use substances differently than men do, using smaller amounts and for a shorter period, yet becoming addicted more quickly than men do.

Women typically respond to substances very differently too.  They react to cravings differently, and they are more likely to relapse after treatment.  Furthermore, while women are less likely to abuse drugs than men are, even in this day and age, those women who do choose to abuse drugs have a higher likelihood of dying from the habit than men do.  This is entirely biological, with drugs typically affecting a woman’s body more severely than a man’s.

When it comes to women and recreational drug use in America, prescription pills are by far the culprit in this recent increase in female drug addiction.  Studies from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration show us that almost five-million women (or four percent) of the women over the age of eighteen, abuse prescription pill drugs.  Furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates to us that every three minutes in our country, a woman goes to the emergency department for prescription drug abuse.

One article in “U.S. News” dives deep into the aspects of women and recreational drug use, how damaging it can be, and how quickly it can go from bad to worse to full-blown addiction. The article also goes over how women in the 21st century are far more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol recreationally than women in the 1900s were.  According to the article which also quotes an Oxford University study:

“Research at Oxford found women are approximately 75 percent more likely than men to report a recent episode of depression and 60 percent more likely to report an anxiety disorder. The same study concluded that cumulatively, women are up to 40 percent more likely than men to develop a mental health condition.  Such findings are relevant because anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses often co-occur with substance abuse (as a form of self-medicating symptoms of an underlying disorder) so much so that treating “co-occurring disorders” is now an established norm in substance abuse treatment. In theory, women’s greater vulnerability to mental illness also makes them more vulnerable to substance abuse.”

This, of course, is only the tip of the iceberg.  It’s not just a mental illness factor, though the advent of the ridiculous, “Popularity of mental illness as a reason for all of our problems in the 21st century” is undoubtedly a significant factor in why more and more women are now abusing drugs and alcohol these days.  But there are other factors at play here.

Why Do People Use Recreational Drugs?

There are more factors for women substance abuse.  Substances are merely more available for women now for one thing.  Also, women see drugs as being a “solution” far more so than a taboo item.  Furthermore, addictive substances are more likely to be legal now than ever before.  Women are less likely to commit illegal acts than men are, hence their hesitancy to abuse illicit street drugs.  However, prescription drugs, the top drug of choice for women of all ages and ethnic backgrounds, are also perfectly legal.  With all of these factors added together, it is no surprise that this is happening.

Luckily, some solutions solve the problem of, “Why do people use recreational drugs,” at its very source.  There are tools that people can work at to create and maintain sobriety, the primary one, of course, being rehabilitation through an inpatient facility.  Women, of course, respond very well to inpatient addiction treatment, as do men.  Women are also more likely to be willing to go to rehab than men are, with the small exception of addicted women who have young children.  That demographic is the toughest to convince!

Seek Help at an Inpatient Addiction Treatment Center

Women who struggle with even the most simple of recreational substance abuse habits need to be helped through a treatment center.  Inpatient drug and alcohol addiction treatment centers possess the tools and the settings necessary to support even the most heavily addicted of women.  With these tools, any woman can break free and get back to a sober lifestyle.

No woman should have to face addiction alone and with no clear idea where she can turn for help.  That is cruelty incarnate.  Thankfully, there is always a place that any woman who suffers from addiction can go to to get the tools needed to defeat addiction for life.  A Forever Recovery can help with this.  A Forever Recovery has rehabilitated thousands of women over the course of a decade of assisting people to beat addiction.  For more information and to get started, reach out to A Forever Recovery today.  Don’t wait until it is too late and addiction completely consumes you or someone you love.  Call to get started on the path to recovery.

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