Recovery from addiction can be an intense, long-lasting ordeal. We help men and women – from teenagers to adults – deal with their addiction problems and kick their negative habits. But, is there a difference when it comes to recovery from addiction for men versus addiction recovery for women?
One of the factors that can make recovery from addiction more difficult for women is the way in which the body processes certain things differently. Alcohol, for example, is processed slightly differently in women’s bodies than in men’s – with women breaking down alcohol more slowly than men, leading to higher blood/alcohol level more quickly.
This can mean that time is even more of a factor for women, especially teenage girls, to get addiction recovery help sooner. The greater the effect of the substance, alcohol or otherwise, the sooner and more severely an addiction is likely to take hold.
Medical complications also tend to be higher in number in women with addictions – including heart disease, hypertension, liver damage and more. There’s also the risk posed by the potential for pregnancy. A pregnant woman who is using illicit substances isn’t just damaging herself, but also her unborn child. Even younger teenage girls are taking a big risk with their reproductive potential when they abuse drugs or alcohol.
Differences of the Mind
When it comes to treatment of women during their recovery from addiction, group environments are a key part of taking the first big steps back towards clean living. It can be hard for any addict to open up about their problems, and the additional stigma attached to a woman suffering addiction only makes things worse.
Mothers and pregnant addicts in particular face a greater challenge, and more temptation for denial, in finding the right kind of support. The fear of failure as a mother can be intense, as well as the fear of losing parental rights because of behavior or issues that stem from addiction.
What this adds up to is that addiction leads to isolation. Having others in the same situation led by an attentive mentor gives an opportunity to escape the lovely life that comes with substance abuse.
The Spiritual Similarities
The loneliness and isolation that women face in addiction and recovery isn’t exclusive to women, but is an almost universal issue. The important thing for those struggling with any addiction to remember is that man or woman, teenager or adult, you are not alone. Thousands of addicts are guided back to God’s love by Adult & Teen Challenge every year, and you or your loved one can be, too.