Addiction recovery, and medicine in general for that matter, have long been based on studies that included men only. It came to light however, that many of the treatments that were considered tradtional and effective for men were not as effective when it came to treating women. In addiction recovery, we know from studies that men are more likely to become addicts, but women become dependent on substances more quickly than men do. The social and medical consequences of addiction also develop faster in women than in men. Research shows that women are more likely to have co-occurring disorders like depression or anxiety. Worse yet, there is still far less research into improving the outcome of treatment in women.
We now know that there are biological factors making women more vulnerable to the effects of alcohol in particular. Only about half as many women abuse alcohol as men in the US. However, women are more at risk of the damaging effects of alcohol. Women’s organs are more susceptible to the damaging effects of alcohol, while also having less of the enzymes that break down alcohol in the body. As a result, more alcohol is absorbed into their bloodstream and women become intoxicated more quickly, and remain so for longer. Alcohol and drug abuse during pregnancy is an even greater risk, resulting in complications for both the mother and child.
In addition to the physical issues, women are more likely to avoid seeking help for their addiction. Substance abuse is considered much more shameful by society for women than for men. Mothers are less likely to seek treatment for fear of separation from their children or the possibility of losing legal rights to care for them. Pregnant women face strong social judgment, yet there is very little care available to them. It is the mission of A Work In Progress to combat as many of these problems as possible.
While there is less support for women in recovery, the number of women who suffer from substance abuse has been rising. Fortunately, as the gap between male and female addicts closes, society is becoming more aware of the issue. Research is focusing on treatments that are more effective for women. Support groups for women are more widespread, particularly for those whose addiction was influenced by abuse or trauma. And at A Work In Progress, we are owned and operated by women in recovery who have faced the same issues that you have. Together, we can overcome our addictions and lead healthy, successful lives.
If you are interested in learning more about A Work In Progress, please contact us at (818) 633-1719 or fill out the contact form on this page. We look forward to hearing from you!