Women abuse alcohol in different ways than men, 33.3% male (alcohol) and 42.3% female (alcohol). Women tend to do it while they are alone, so they can hide their problem. Drug abuse is often connected to mental health illness with women. Women suffer from anxiety, depression, and eating disorders, most of which have to do with feeling less than when comparing themselves to others both men and women.
Once women start with drug or alcohol abuse, the problem develops rather quickly, and they go from experimenting to addiction to treatment in a shorter amount of time than men typically do. When women get treatment, they are more likely to stay sober than men. Women will most likely relapse because they are feeling down; while men will relapse when they find themselves in “social drinking” situations, and men cope better with friends that are drinking.
If they don’t get treatment, women are very good at hiding their addiction, and often even family members and friends don’t realize there is a problem. Sometimes women will go for treatment for their emotional or mental illness first. They are more likely to visit a primary care doctor or psychiatrist instead of a substance abuse treatment provider. Sometimes the substance abuse is overlooked by the doctors because the person is not transparent and honest about their use, the amount, therefore that the addiction can continue.
Women, like the rest of the population, need to work on learning prevention techniques to stay clean from drugs and alcohol. Our challenge as women is to learn to battle physical and emotional stress in a healthier way and to get the most out of what the underlining issues may be.