Counselling for Addictions

SummaryScientists who study substance use have discovered that women who use drugs can have issues related to hormones, menstrual cycle, fertility, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and menopause. In addition, women themselves describe unique reasons for using drugs, including controlling weight, fighting exhaustion, coping with pain, and attempts to self-treat mental health problems.

  • Women often use substances differently than men, such as using smaller amounts of certain drugs for less time before they become addicted.
  • Women can respond to substances differently. For example, they may have more drug cravings and may be more likely to relapse after treatment.
  • Sex hormones can make women more sensitive than men to the effects of some drugs.
  • Women who use drugs may also experience more physical effects on their heart and blood vessels.
  • Brain changes in women who use drugs can be different from those in men.
  • Women may be more likely to go to the emergency room or die from overdose or other effects of certain substances.
  • Women who are victims of domestic violence are at increased risk of substance use.
  • Divorce, loss of child custody, or the death of a partner or child can trigger women’s substance use or other mental health disorders.
  • Women who use certain substances may be more likely to have panic attacks, anxiety, or depression.

NIDA. (2018, August 10). Substance Use in Women. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/substance-use-in-women on 2018, October 26