An individualized approach to addiction recovery is no longer reduced to in-patient vs outpatient or holistic vs traditional; therapists are also looking into the ways that addiction manifests itself in gender. The root causes of addiction are as varied as the people conquering this disease, and now it’s believed that physiological, social and psychological differences in men and women and how we’re wired affect the course of the disease. The gist of different studies on addictive behavior found that the nature of addiction differs by gender. In general, women:
Abuse substances at lower doses than men
Escalate to addiction more rabidly
Seek treatment earlier
Have a higher risk of relapse after treatment
Science theorizes that dependence is rooted in the brain’s memory processing function, and that the sphere of the brain that oversees this function is drastically different in men and women. Other factors include hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle and societal influence. MRIs performed on male and female patients also demonstrate a physical differences in the sectors of the brain that processes anticipation and reward; male receptors were activated when expecting a reward for a task, and those receptors were more active in women after actually receiving a reward. Physcial differences are also found in the size of dopamine receptors in men and women, as well as the more obvious differences in the size and structure of skeletal, circulatory and muscle systems.
From a sociological and psychological standpoint, men and women generally differ in the way they handle stress and in their ability to admit to having a problem and seek treatment for it; there tends to be more societal pressure on men to ‘be strong’ and bury their emotions.
How These Factors Relate to Treatment
While there are no specific gender-related applications in the pharmacological research aspect of addiction, this knowledge has positive implications for the future of addiction prevention and recovery.
One study published in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse found that the difference in treatment referal also affecs the way treatment is approached. Men tend to respond better in a one-on-one and confrontational treatent methods, while considerations for women include:
Addressing child care concerns during treatment
Involvement in group sessions
Using a supportive, network-based approach
Using a creative approach to help women deal with their emotions, like art or music therapy
There are many options for womens addiction treatment in Florida, including residential facilities and outpatient treatment. The important things to remember are to be someplace where you’ll have plenty of support during and after the initial recovery process.
Article Submitted By Community Writer