Posted on December 5, 2017 by kacy ritter
Though recovery is possible for everyone, there are many barriers to treatment which women face during the recovery process.
The consequences associated with heavy drinking happen faster for women. They encounter drinking-related problems and lose control over their drinking more quickly than men.
Women typically have less body mass and less water content in their bodies than their male counterparts. This means that after a woman and a man of the same weight drink the same amount of alcohol, the woman’s blood alcohol concentration (or BAC) will tend to be higher. A higher BAC puts her at greater risk for harm. This not only causes women to become more impaired as a result of drinking, it also exposes vital organs to more alcohol before it’s broken down. This can lead to a wide variety of health problems, including alcoholism.
Chronic alcohol use takes a greater physical toll on women. Female alcoholics have death rates 50 – 100% higher than male alcoholics. Female alcoholics also have a higher percentage of death due to alcohol-related injuries, suicides, circulatory disorders and cirrhosis of the liver.
Some of the biggest treatment barriers for women are related to social structure. Women are often less likely to seek addiction treatment because they:
Perhaps one of the biggest reasons that women to avoid seeking treatment for substance use and alcoholism is the perceived impact it will have on their families. Many women are central caregivers in their family. They often provide care and support for a spouse, children, aging parents, and perhaps also neighbors, friends or acquaintances. Many are afraid that if they leave to seek treatment, the entire network will fall apart without their support.
In many ways, the life experience of women is distinct from that of their male counterparts. Women are much more likely to have been the victims of trauma, abuse or neglect than man. This includes:
These barriers also coincide with other mental health disorders. Co-occurring mental disorders are common with addiction and may also include:
Any one of these mental health disorders can exacerbate substance use in unique ways. These are often compounded by other challenges that women face. When these challenges include:
As a result, women do not receive the help that they need or deserve because of these challenges
If you or a loved one is struggling with alcoholism or addiction, the time to seek help is now.