Free Essay on Special Considerations for Addictions and Treatment Among Women

Published: 2023-05-22
Free Essay on Special Considerations for Addictions and Treatment Among Women
Type of paper:  Term paper
Categories:  Women Medicine Substance abuse Drug abuse
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1771 words
15 min read

Over past decades, research on addictions of drugs and substances focused sorely on the effects on men alone (Tuchman, 2010). It was a medical bias that exclusively failed to reflect the uniqueness of addiction in women. However, in the 1990s, different US institutions of medical experts started to institute women on researches about addiction as well as the peculiarity in their treatment (Bezrutczyk, 2019). Although men are most likely to suffer addictions, women are the most likely to go in emergency rooms due to fatally addictions. Women's addictions are thus of special consideration stemming from their biological and sociological uniqueness. This paper will extensively discuss the special considerations for women's addictions as well as the implications of their treatment.

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Biological Considerations

Biological factors are the major source of addiction in women. Susceptibility in women is mediated by neuroendocrine adaptations to stress as well as in the reward systems. Women have blunted adrenocorticotropic hormone and cortisol, which are known to enhance their relapse and addiction to substances like alcohol. Cortisol is known to develop as a result of exposure to stress and addictive drug among women (Lal et al., 2015).

Concerning the physiological effects, estrogen and progesterone hormones are known to influence the behaviour effects of addiction. Compared to men, women get more befuddled after taking only less amount of alcohol. It is an indication that women attain complex Blood Alcohol Concentrations (BACs) once they consume the corresponding volume of alcohol (Lal et al., 2015). It could be as a result of a smaller amount of body water as compared to size. Also, since there is a low antidiuretic hormone in alcohol content, women get addicted as the alcoholic content gets absorbed immediately.

Besides, as per recent studies, older women tend to have a higher alcohol blood concentration as compared to younger women (Bezrutczyk, 2019). This is an indication that age may be a critical indicator of addiction in women. Studies on tobacco show that women who smoke are riskier for health consequences like lung cancers, together with heart complications than in men (Bezrutczyk, 2019). The specialty in the women's addiction and the acute effects, as well as the long-term outcomes of illicit substances, is as a result of different phases of women's menstrual cycles.

Women tend to develop a dependence on alcohol more quickly than men because of other biological factors like the fact that women have weight compared to men. Women have their bodies with more fatty tissue and a smaller amount of water than in men. Since the fatty tissues retain alcohol instead of diluting it like what water does, the organs in a woman tend to sustain more exposure. Furthermore, studies show that women have low levels of alcohol dehydrogenase as well as aldehyde dehydrogenase. The two enzymes break alcohol down while in stomach and liver thus making women be at the exposure of absorbing more alcohol into their bloodstream than men

Concerning cocaine addictions, women tend to be more sensitive to the acute cardiovascular risks of cocaine as compared to men. However, in terms of brain damage due to the addiction, women are less vulnerable, which could be a result of female hormones that are capable of protecting women from the damage. Cocaine addiction in women is also known for disrupting the menstrual cycle as well as interfering with their fertility.

Women injecting opioids are more susceptible to HIV infections than in men. Their mortality rate is also higher than in men. Besides, opioid-addicted women have their menstrual cycle disrupted. Also, unlike in men, women addicted to opioid drugs can get secondary amenorrhea as well as more risks of unplanned pregnancies.

Genetic and environmental considerations

Studies show that genetic factors contribute to the specialty and causation in women's addiction. Illicit substances are initiated in women mostly by environmental factors, although the genetic stimuli facilitate the development of the addiction. In many nations, the major imperative environmental factor influencing addictions in women is based on alcohol usage by a spouse. Besides, it may be the abuse from a close family member where women get coerced to use alcohol while giving company to their partners.

Studies on women addiction by National Survey indicate that the main reasons conveyed by women on why they started the substance use was, 48% from friend's influences, 16% due to stress and tension, and 11 % coercions by a spouse (Lal et al., 2015). Other than substance usage by a family member or friend, possessing a precise susceptibility like transition and lifestyle variations that increase the danger of addiction and consequently, women are conveyed in numerous studies. The evidence infers the imperative role of environmental effects together with genetic issues in the development of addiction in females, which is unique as compared to other addictions in men.

Psychological and Psychiatric Comorbidities Considerations

Co-morbid psychological aspects implicate women's addiction to substance use regardless of the substance used. Various addiction cases are perpetuated by physical or sexual abuse of women than on men (Carr & Szymanski, 2011). Early traumatic life actions for women is known to swift the development of substance abuse and addictions.

Correspondingly, a history of vicious assault increases the risk of substance use as well as post-traumatic stress disorders, including more mental health problems in women than in men. Reports given by United States National Evaluation Data Services indicates many women who are addicted, 90%, with substance abuse were sexually abused more than one time in their lives (United Nations, 2010). Also, 50% of addicted women have a history of physical abuse in their lives (United Nations, 2010).

Furthermore, a study that was community-based comprised 1411 female twins who reported a relationship within the brutality of self-reported juvenile sexual abuse and risk for getting dependence on a drug (Lal et al., 2015). Women who reported genital intercourse comprised the most risk group.

A current study of women having an experience of sexual abuse as an adult testified substance dependence as a strategy to cope with the resulting posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (Bezrutczyk, 2019). The substantial connection between substance dependence and the main depression in women is also conveyed. Studies suggest an odds ratio develop alcohol abuse and addiction to be 4.1 for females, which is special because that of men is only 2.67 for major depression (Mason et al., 2014).

Besides, specialty in women addiction as per co-morbid psychological aspects is depicted in higher rates of suicide attempts addicted women than is the case for men. The reports from the national survey on drug use and health indicate that although both men and women may have a sophisticated prevalence of anxiety disorders, only women addicted are most likely to have serious depressive disorders in comparison to men.

More examination of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) reveal that drug dependence in women is further prospective of having a mood, as well as anxiety disorders and, are at more risk of getting externalizing disorders with an experience of "telescoping" impacts (Hasin & Grant, 2015). Furthermore, eating disorders are regularly seen in women with addictions. An evaluation of clinical populations conveys that there are about 40% of women who report comorbid eating disorders originating from the addictions (Hasin & Grant, 2015). NESARC analysis shows that women who have bulimia or binge-eating disorders possess higher rates of addiction mostly to females who have an antiquity of physical or sexual assaults. Correspondingly, the national survey reports show that most of the addicted women exhibit psychological complications like restlessness, depression, anxiety, suicidal attempts and guilt feelings more than men.

In terms of the development of concurrent disorders resulting from the addiction, women also depict specialty since studies reveal that addicted women have psychiatric disorders like depression, panic disorder and PTSD, which mostly precede the inception of a substance (Mason et al., 2014) use disorder. That is special as compared to men where depression is generally an outcome of substance use, predominantly cocaine, as well as alcohol usage. Women get addicted to substances due to complications that include depression, petulance and anxiety. They also get susceptible to addiction as a result of challenges of social functioning like employment, finances and legal glitches.

Typically, sundry parts of the world, mainly those undertaking economic reformation, have economic difficulties, which tend to make women turn to actions like sex work together with trafficking and abuse of substances for their survival. Therefore, there is the feeling of existing substance usage delinquent leading to women getting addictions from the exposure.

Sociocultural Considerations

There is a social perception for women who are addicted to substances, which may be depicted in the context of the relational model. There are stipulated expectations from the society that depict a woman as a wife, mother, custodian, spouse, and nurturer (Greenfield et al., 2010). Thus, the moment she tends to deviate from these prescribed roles, she tends to face stigma and discrimination. Thus, women who get addicted to substances like alcohol, opium and cannabis are accused of sexual misconduct, promiscuity, and neglect towards the children and others. There are settings of conditions for addicted women, which bring about stigma as well as social discrimination. Besides, premature engagement to sex as well as forced sex is a major addiction source for women, which makes them violate law ensuing in aggravation from both hardened criminals and the police.

When compared to men where addiction may affect an occupation, addiction in women contrast that since most of them report more glitches in the domains of family and social fields. Addicted women are most likely to be divorced as compared to the male counterparts. Significant informative consultations by national survey discovered that 31% of the addicted women were generally single, and 32% had divorced (Hasin & Grant, 2015). These women also had reports of early exposure to substance use, together with high alcohol and substance usage levels within their families.

Attitudes from the family members was mostly punitive since they were indifferent to them, with domestic violence recurrently reported. Additionally, aspects like low levels of education, joblessness, young age at work, early marriages, as well as inadequate social support increase susceptibility of addicted females than men.

Severity Considerations

In terms of the addiction severity, women depict some specialty since they are more affected at the entry treatment. For instance, a study on admissions of publicly sponsored substance abuse treatment in the US revealed that women possessed a higher composite score for the entire domains of the Addiction Severity Index excepting legal as compared to admitted males. Likewise, another study that used facts of America's Drug and Alcohol Treatment Outcome Study (DATOS) revealed that most women as compared to men, are likely to become addicted to heroin and cocaine, which are principal drugs of choice (Bezrutczyk, 2019). It also found that women had higher Problem Severity Index scores than those of men.

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