Alcohol consumption is a public health problem and generates a high number of organic and psychosocial diseases in both men and women, according to the World Health Organization. When it comes to addictions, it is safe to say that gender counts a lot. First of all, it is due to the fact that the substances men and women consume are different. Women consume more anxiolytics or alcohol, in addition to non-substance addictions, such as gambling or shopping. Among the first, there are 54% of women unemployed, in addition to the fact that a large part of them are victims of domestic violence, although this has been normalized.
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Addictions in women are different from those of men in everything: in terms of the number, the substances consumed, the reasons, how and when to start using, and the consequences. To mention that women have fewer addiction problems is not a coincidence. It is conditioned by the different education that men and women have received. Consuming substances and, even worse, when an addiction develops, is contrary to what is expected of a woman since this breaks with gender stereotypes and mandates of what it means to “be a good woman.”
Consuming Legal Substances
Alcohol, tobacco, or psychotropic drugs are the main legal substances most consumed by women because they are easy to get and, therefore, they are not seen as a risk factor for addiction. Women are more likely to choose legal drugs because they are less socially censored. It is important to insist on the fact that this choice has to do with the role that society assigns each gender and not in a “natural” way. In the same way, they take much longer to reach treatment centers due to the greater embarrassment that they have. Even when they recognize the addiction, women prefer to keep it hidden from everyone around them.
Psychotropic drugs are a key point in their addictions because they are substances that help them to cope with the circumstances of their daily life, favoring this consumption that the woman remains paralyzed because of her life situation. When these women finally accept addiction therapy, their counselors discover in their testimonies the reasons why they started: from specific or experimental consumption, exposure by their romantic partners, or a means of escape from different forms of violence they received.
The social consequences suffered by women with addictions are doubly penalizing, making them guilty of their situation, and abandoning the roles that the social construction of gender assigns to women. This also has the consequence that an addicted woman faces her drug addiction treatment with much less family support, compared to men.
Accessibility to treatment is one of the basic pillars of good health and is considered one of the most important elements in the quality of life. For that reason, it is necessary to take into account the different factors that can prevent or delay access to treatment, such as physical and mental problems, the patient’s personality, the inadequacy of the treatment to the characteristics of the patients, the economic availability, as well as the gender of the patients.
Drug addiction centers are the most used resources prior to assisting specific addiction centers. This provides a good environment for early diagnosis and intervention, being able to limit the possible accessibility barrier posed by ignorance of existing resources. You can click here to read more.