Addiction and recovery
Are some women more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs?
- Women who are depressed
- Women who are isolated from other family, friends, and people
- Women who have experienced rape or sexual assault and/or physical assault as a child or adult
- Women who feel bad about themselves
- Women whose parents had problems with drugs and alcohol
- Women who have a husband, boyfriend or partner who abuses drugs and/or alcohol
- Women who feel disconnected from others or have suffered great losses (like death of a family member, loss of a job, break-up of a relationship or marriage, loss of their health, loss of their house)
- Women who tried or experimented with drugs or alcohol when they were young
Are women different than men in their use of substances?
- Women are more likely to use legal drugs, such as alcohol or prescription drugs.
- Women are more likely to get their alcohol and drugs from friends, boyfriends, family, or doctors than from dealers.
- Women are more likely to use many substances, rather than just one, like alcohol.
- Women use in isolation, by themselves, at home more than men.
- Women often begin to drink or use alcohol and drugs after a traumatic event, like rape, battering, accident, loss of their house in a fire or hurricane.
- Women are more likely to be in a relationship with a partner who uses drugs and alcohol too.
- Because women have the primary responsibility for the children and the household, their addiction can cause more family disruption.
- Women are more likely to be discouraged about getting treatment by family members.
- Women have more problems with depression, anxiety, and changing moods.
- Women have higher levels of shame and guilt about their addiction.
- Women have more problems with feeling good about their bodies.
- Women have lower expectations for what is possible for them in life.
How many women use alcohol and drugs?
- At least 4.5 million women are alcohol abusers or alcoholics.
- 3.1 million regularly use illicit drugs (like marijuana, cocaine, street drugs).
- 3.5 million misuse prescription drugs. (Reid 1996)
- 4% of pregnant women age 15 to 44 reported illicit drug use during the past month, 4.5% engaged in binge drinking (5 or more drinks on same occasion in 1 day), and 18% smoked cigarettes.
- (Based on data from SAMHSA’s 2002-04 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health)
What are the signs that you might have a problem with alcohol or drugs?
- You use more of the drug/alcohol than you said you would.
- You have tried to cut down or stop drinking or using and have not been able to.
- You spend a lot of time getting your drinks/drugs, using them, and recovering from them.
- You begin to give up certain social or work or family activities because of your use.
- Friends and family say something to you about your use.
- You continue to use your alcohol or drugs despite bad consequences, like
- Having a car accident while using
- You need more of it to get high
- Using while you are pregnant
- Breaking the law to get money to buy drugs/alcohol
- Using when it makes you late to work or school
- Getting fired from work because of your use
- Having unprotected sex when you use
- Using while taking care of your children
- Lying to family members to hide your use
- Developing health problems related to use