Addiction Differences in Men and Women

Addiction is a growing problemAddiction is a growing problem. It is an issue not just for men, but for women as well.

Addiction is a disorder which happens to a person regardless of gender, race, or social status. Specifically, it is a mental disorder that is characterized by a compulsive need to seek out and engage in rewarding stimuli despite the consequences.

Examples of Addiction

Drugs, alcohol, smoking, gambling, exercise, and food are just some examples of rewarding stimuli that eventually become addictive after being exposed to it repetitively over a long period of time.

For addictive drugs such as cocaine, opium and amphetamines, these target and flood the brain’s reward system with dopamine. This chemical is a neurotransmitter responsible for emotion, motivation, movement, and pleasure. Once this system is flooded with Dopamine, a euphoric effect happens. This experience is what drug users call a “high.”

Risk for Women

Women, due to some risk factors, are vulnerable to substance abuse disorders. Those who succumb to substance abuse have different reasons compared to men.

Depression and low self-esteem are some of the reasons women become dependent on drugs. Apart from this, women usually get “hooked” on drugs faster and suffer the health consequences earlier.

In the past, only a few women sought treatment for their addiction problems. It was only during the 60s and 70s when more women started addressing their issues. Such a change paved the way for more research on female addiction and allowed the establishment of treatment centers for women, notes

Addiction is treatable. Its successful management is possible with medication and various forms of therapy. Treatment should address the medical, social and mental problems of the patient, as well as provide a setting for personal reflection and healing.

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