Several research studies have been conducted to determine the effects of drug and alcohol use, abuse, and dependency on women as compared to their male counterparts. These studies have revealed that there are stark differences between female and male substance abuse and addiction. For example, according to a study by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6.6 % of females aged 12 and over use drugs for a period of one month or longer. Other studies have found that women become addicted to drugs and alcohol much faster than men, and once a female starts to use a substance, she will likely become dependent on it. Furthermore, women who abuse and are addicted to substance are more likely to suffer from the negative consequences that substance use and addiction causes faster than their male counterparts. Women are also more likely to engage in risky behaviors than men are when they are addicted to drugs or alcohol; for example, they tend to partake in dangerous sexual behavior, and that behavior can lead to physical, mental, and emotional abuse, which can further fuel their addiction.
Other factors that can contribute to female drug and alcohol abuse and dependency include:
- Sexual abuse
- Body image issues
- Problems with eating disorders
- Fulfillment challenges
It’s also been found that women who do enter rehabilitation centers tend to have more severe mental health, behavioral, and social issues than men who attend rehab. Additionally, women who are incarcerated in state and federal prisons have higher rates of drug abuse than males, as per the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Addiction is the cause of incarceration for many women; whether it’s because they committed crimes to obtain a substance or because they engaged in illicit behaviors while they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol.