Women and Drug Overdose

Women and Drug Overdose

According to a report issued by the Office of National Drug Control Policy at the White House, females become dependent on drugs faster and suffer the consequences sooner than their male counterparts. Risk factors may make females vulnerable to substance abuse and even drug overdose. The study also shows that the reasons women use drugs are often different than men’s motivations. Reasons women overdose on drugs include the following:

  • Low self-esteem: Women are particularly prone to struggles with their self-esteem in today’s image-driven culture. When they feel like they can’t measure up, some women turn to drugs to help themselves feel better. Many times, women can unknowingly—or even purposefully—overdose on drugs.
  • Trauma: Many women who have been physically or sexually abused will turn to drugs to numb the emotional pain of the past trauma. They would rather avoid the memories and pain of the experience than do the difficult work of dealing with it. Overdose often occurs.
  • Chronic pain: According to a recent 2013 report by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), women are more likely to experience chronic pain, be prescribed prescriptions to manage that pain, be given higher doses of prescription medication, and use those medications for longer periods of time than men. These factors combine to create a high possibility of overdose among women.
  • Switching doctors: In the same report by the CDC, researchers cited that women are more likely than men to “doctor shop,” meaning they go to multiple doctors to obtain prescription drugs. This increases the opportunity for overdose.
  • Body chemistry: Women don’t metabolize drugs as well as men, which means they will feel the effects of drugs more dramatically. This increases the likelihood of addiction and especially overdose. Women are often unaware of how drugs affect the body, and as a result, overdose occurs.

Whatever reasons exist for using drugs, women need to be aware of the dangers of substance abuse and addiction.

Treatment for Addiction

The first step in overcoming an addiction is detox, which is simply the process of removing drugs from the body. Once detox is complete, individuals can choose among several treatment options. Most treatment facilities offer 30-day, 60-day, or 90-day treatment programs for drug addiction. Many offer even longer options, including up to 12 months of either inpatient or outpatient treatment and rehab.

During rehab, individuals will identify and seek to break the habits that they developed as a drug addict. They will also identify and work through any underlying emotional or relational issues they have that could have triggered the addiction, as well as those that might trigger a relapse once they leave treatment. Individuals will also work on building skills necessary to re-enter their life drug free.

Getting Help for Addiction

If you or a loved one is struggling with a drug addiction, seek help immediately. You can call our toll-free, 24 hour number to talk with one of our admissions counselors. We can provide information about the addiction treatment options available to you or your loved one. You don’t have to journey through this alone; call us today.