Gender and sex mainly influence women exposed to drug abuse. Sex is a factor based on biology and their gender regarding the cultural roles of men and women. Studies indicate that women who are addicted to drugs have contributing issues relating to fertility, hormones, menstrual cycle, menopause, breastfeeding, and pregnancy.Most women will state their reasons for drug abuse; some of them include eliminating exhaustion, managing pain, weight control, and help from mental-related problems.
Science has shown the different ways women respond to abuse:
- Women tend to have smaller amounts of drugs as compared to men; this is what happens before their addiction. Women have a different way of responding to drugs, their level of cravings is higher, and they suffer from relapse even after their treatment.
- Sex hormones are one of the factors that make women more sensitive to drugs as compared to men. There is a more significant impact on women’s’ blood vessels and heart as part of the physical effects. Their brain changes are much different as compared to their counterparts.
- Women have a higher fatality rate from an overdose or other substance effects. Studies have shown that women who have been victims of domestic violence are at risk of drug abuse.
- Other contributing factors to substance abuse include divorce, partner’s death, mental disorder, or loss of child custody. The common effects of the abuse are panic attacks, depression, and anxiety.
When a woman is addicted to any substance while pregnant or breastfeeding, it can bring about fatal effects. That is the reason it is imperative to seek women’s drug treatment. Avoid any harmful drugs such as stimulants or opioids that are to the unborn baby. There are numerous underlying effects such as miscarriage, seizures, migraines, and high blood pressure for the expecting mother.
For the women who smoke marijuana, tobacco, take pain relievers, and illegal drugs, there are higher chances of stillbirth. In the case of taking marijuana for medical purposes, it is advisable to stop when you are planning to get pregnant. When you get pregnant, ensure that you get professional advice from your doctor regarding taking any drugs.
For breastfeeding mothers, who were addicts of marijuana, nicotine, and alcohol, there are long-term effects on their babies. It may end up affecting their brain development that is one of the reasons to consult your doctor. The treatment of drug abuse in women could be different from men. Their progress in drug abuse is quicker, and withdrawal is intense; a person who is addicted to any substance experiences the challenges to quitting. More so to women, who are scared they will lose their children when declared addicts.
It is advisable to support women, especially when exposed to childcare, family responsibilities, and home care. Different programs can be adapted to help women suffering from drug abuse and provide them with prenatal care. Some of the treatments included parenting classes, childcare, and job training; some prescription includes buprenorphine, methadone, and other medications. When the child is born, it is crucial to treat all the withdrawal symptoms.