The Power of Acceptance: Embracing Change for a Brighter Future
With women more susceptible to opioid abuse than ever,recent developments are underscoring a dire need for more female-focused addiction treatment options.
Drug overdose deaths in women over the age of 30 are on the rise, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control andPrevention (CDC). Overdose deaths among women ages 45 to 64 increaseddramatically between 1999 and 2017.
The CDC’s findings are significant because they showan alarming increase in overdoses among women across the board, with middle-aged women the most impacted. The overalldrug overdose death rate in women from ages 30-64, increased 260 percent between1999 and 2017, while opioid-involved overdose deaths increased 492 percent.During that period, opioid overdose deaths among women increased as follows:
It’s worth noting that the age group with the mostsignificant increase in drug overdose deaths – up 500 percent from 1999 – are middle-agedwomen between the ages of 55 and 64.
With suchstaggering increases, the opioid epidemic is undeniable, especially amongwomen. But while more men than women battle drug addiction, the US Department ofHealth and Human Services (DHS) reports that women appear to becomedependent on opioids at a quicker rate than their male counterparts, indicating theneed for treatment options specific to women. But why are women affecteddifferently?
While there is no definitive cause indicating whywomen become addicted to opioids faster than men, scientists assert thatwomen’s biological makeup is a contributing factor, and the National Women’sHealth Network (NWHN) seeks to cast a light on the overwhelming impact the opioid epidemic has on women. NWHN asserts that women are more likely to develop an opioiddependence because they’re more likely to experience chronic pain, beprescribed opioids, become dependent on opioids faster, and use opiates for alonger duration.
Prevalence of chronic pain, the ease of acquiring anopioid prescription, and a rapidly acquired dependence all contribute to thealarming rise in rates of drug overdose deaths in women. However, mentalillness is another key contributor to women’s opioid dependence, specificallybecause women experience mental health disorders in different ways than men.
In addition to depression and anxiety occurring moreprevalently among women, the National Institute on Mental Health (NMIH) statesthat women also suffer from unique types of depression. Examples of these depression types include perinatal depression,premenstrual dysphoric disorder and perimenopause-related depression,indicating that gender-related biological factors may be significant drivers ofthis imbalance.
While mental health disorders are not unique to women,the NMIH suggests that the fact that women may experience mental healthdisorders differently than men indicates that one’s biological makeup, or sex,can influence the course of illness. Because of this difference between men’sand women’s mental health, addiction must also be considered from a genderedperspective.
Not only do women become physically dependent upondrugs more quickly, and by using smaller amounts than men (a phenomenon knownas telescoping), but according to the National Instituteon Drug Abuse (NIDA), they’re likely to have more have more drug cravings andmore susceptible to relapse after treatment. Hormonal fluctuations can also impact the effect of drugs on women, often making them more sensitive to the impact of substances than theirmale counterparts.
It’s impossible to highlight the differences betweenmen, women and each sex’s respective drug dependence without discussing how theunderlying reasons that drive their behavior differ. While research shows thatbiological factors affect drug addiction in women, the National Institute on Drug Abuse suggeststhat gender is an influence as well.
According to NIDA, culturally-defined gender rolesdirectly affect women’s reasons for using drugs. We know that women use drugsto cope with chronic pain, but image-related issues, combatting exhaustion andself-medicating mental health concerns are additional common reasons women seekout drugs. This holds true whether they’re prescribed or purchased on thestreet. Women are more susceptible to developing an addiction as a result oftrauma, which can result from psychological andemotional stress as a child, adult or both.
We now know that women can become addicted to substancesmore easily than men, and that they also experience addiction and mental healthdisorders in unique ways. So it’s not surprising that women recover fromdrugs differently than men, too.
Serenity Vista is a private luxury rehab providing asafe, comfortable and secure treatment facility with a holistic approach torecovery. We offer affordable care in a highly desirable location in Panama – making a fresh start here in ourpeaceful, naturally beautiful setting is more accessible for many than rehab in the US.
At Serenity Vista, you’ll work in an intimate group(limited to a maximum of six guests at any time) led by a team of experiencedand open-minded professionals. And, you’ll be surrounded by our caring andclose-knit team of counselors, facilitators and holistic therapy practitioners duringthe entire course of your stay.
Are you ready to break free from your addiction? Contact us today to discover how we can help.
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