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Drug & Alcohol Addiction

Facts About Women And The Drugs They Use

It is more known about addiction and recovery than ever before. While there is still so much to learn, much progress has been made, and treatments, therapies and medications are more effective than ever. Compared to the recent past when most addicts were simply locked away, things are looking up. Unfortunately, there is still a long way to go, especially when it comes to addiction and women.

It may surprise people to know that women’s addiction problems weren’t even a topic of study, research or much attention at all until very recently. For decades research on addiction centered around men. It wasn’t until the 1990’s that women’s addiction received any attention. Yes, women could get help in 12 step programs and treatment centers, but there was no information about how women were affected by addiction, and if gender played any role in drug effects, choices, addiction rates and recovery rates.

Fortunately, this has changed, and the results of recent research and study have yielded significant results. There are notable differences in the ways that men and women use. There are differences in how drugs effects women vs. men, how long it takes women to become addicted, and how difficult it is to recover. Many of these differences are physiological, but when it comes to the differences between men and women and drug addiction, society, gender roles and expectations play a big part.

How Do Women Use Differently Than Men?

men and women differences

Let’s first look at the most commonly used and abused drug worldwide: Alcohol. In the past, statistics showed that more men indulged in alcohol than women. As recently as the 1970’s, there were much higher rates of male drinkers vs. female drinkers. Over the years, this gap has narrowed significantly.

The problem is that women are not only quicker to develop a physical dependence on alcohol, they are also quicker to experience negative physical consequences, such as liver damage. But what about other drugs?

Statistically speaking, men still abuse alcohol and marijuana more than women do, especially marijuana. There are no clear reasons for this, but there is speculation that marijuana is more likely to result in depression in women than men, making it a less desirable drug.

When it comes to stimulants like meth and cocaine, women and men are equally likely to partake. However studies have shown that in animals with the opportunity to self-administer drugs, the females self-administered sooner, and in larger quantities than the males.

Other research shows that there are key differences as to the “why’s” of stimulant abuse. Women are more likely to be offered stimulants, particularly methamphetamines, by a romantic partner. Women are also more likely to use stimulants as a method of weight loss, and as a tool for increased productivity.

Women in our society today have high expectations of themselves. They expect to be able to juggle careers, children, romantic relationships, housework and a myriad of other activities — and to look “good” while doing it. For many women, stimulant drugs are attractive because they increase energy levels so they can get more done, suppress the appetite so they can lose weight, and elevate mood and sex drive, making them a more desirable partner. This is a trap, of course, and the toll that methamphetamines and stimulants such as Ritalin and Adderall are taking is dramatic.

Stimulants continue to be a large problem for women, who also appear to have more difficulty quitting them and higher relapse rates than men.

Opiates And Benzos

women in bed next to prescription pills

Women are more likely to be prescribed opiates and benzos than men are. While it is not clear why this is, one can speculate that societal factors and gender roles play a part. Historically, doctors have routinely prescribed women drugs, namely benzodiazepines to help them “calm down.” Particularly in recent years, prescriptions for anti-anxiety drugs have led to skyrocketing addiction rates with drugs such as Xanax and Ativan being particularly troublesome.

Trauma And Abuse

women dressed and suffering from traumatic experience

While abuse happens to both genders, women addicts are more likely than men to have been victims of incest, sexual abuse, rape and domestic violence. Using drugs is often a way to self-medicate and numb painful feelings.

Overall, the research that has been done has shown that women and men respond differently to drugs, both psychologically and physically, and that women seem to be more vulnerable to addiction and have more trouble quitting. With these facts in mind, why is it that there are more men in treatment than women?

Barriers To Getting Help

Women face greater barriers to getting help for addiction than men. Studies show that women in treatment are less likely than men to have high school diplomas, and women are less likely to be informed about treatment options. Women are less likely than men to be referred to treatment by employers, and women are also more likely to lose permanent custody of their children as a result of drug addiction.

This last fact is probably one of the biggest barriers to getting treatment. Stigma and fear is a huge barrier. Women are more likely to be the primary caregivers for children. This makes getting help difficult. Women are less likely to reach out for help. For women who stay at home, they are less likely to be aware of available help and resources, and are less likely to have a support system in place that will allow them to get help.

The stigma of being an addict is bad enough, but to be a woman and a mother on top of that can be even worse. People are judgemental, and for women who become pregnant and are unable to stop using, the consequences are even worse.

What Can Be Done To Help Addicted Women?

Much is being done, right now. More and more programs are recognizing the plight of women who are addicted. Hopefully, in the future there will be more in the way of outreach to help women who are addicted and isolated, often in abusive relationships and often with children dependent on them for care.

Where To Turn If You Need Help

If you are a woman who is addicted to drugs or alcohol, or if you know a woman who needs help, Wayside House offers a drug treatment program designed by women, for women. Our unique program recognizes the challenges that women face in both addiction and recovery. Our center is warm, welcoming and set in beautiful, safe and serene surroundings. If you would like to learn more about Wayside House and its unique treatment program, call 561-278-0055 today to schedule a free, confidential consultation.

Testimonials

  • “Thank you Wayside for being there for her when she needed your help the most!!!”   Woohoo!!! 

  • Wayside taught me how to be a woman and live life clean & sober!

    Alexandra N.

  • “Wayside is more than treatment. It is a home. I grew up emotionally in that little house. I was there for 9 months and they were the best 9 months of my life. To have time to learn about yourself and take the time to focus on yourself is such a blessing. The plants I planted are still there. I see them in the photos. Such a special place!!”

    Amanda O.

  • This is an excellent treatment facility and all women down in Delray Beach, FL. …if you have anything you can send to help these young/older women, believe me anything is appreciated. This place and God did wonders for my girl.

    Amy G

  • Wayside House is where i went to rehab & they are AMAZING!! Its a 90 day program & alot of the girls have absolutely nothing when they move into the house. If your feel generous, or just want to help, it’s a worthy cause!!  Mandy W.

  • “What a rich heritage Wayside House has!”

    Allen S.

  • “It was so nice to hear from Wayside House.  I am still employed and I love my job!!! I will have 9 months on the 21st of October…..All thanks to Wayside and you ladies at the Posner Center!!!!🤗”

    Rita P.

  • “Tonight’s Wayside House Anniversary meeting and listening to the journey’s with 1,2,6,22,29 and 33 years in sobriety empowered my heart! So happy for one of the girls I sent to Wayside House.”

    Katrin O.

  • “Wayside does such good work in our community.” 

    Jan S.

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    What People Are Saying

    • “I have always supported Wayside House — I know women who have come through their program and support all they do. If you don’t know about this fabulous place I encourage you to become involved and find out more — they are an anchor in Delray Beach and their history speaks for itself.” 

      Nancy S.

    • “I went through Wayside House & it was the first place that actually felt like home to me. The staff actually care about their clients and their sobriety. I worked through so much here without fear of being judged. I love wayside & it will always have a special place in my heart along with ALL the amazing women who work there.”

      Mandy W

    • I so wish I could tell the girls how much Wayside saved my life,  and after 31 years sober, it still is just “One Day at a Time” and “The Serenity Prayer.” I will always remember those first days of being at Wayside and how the girls , the counselors , and the House put me back on track to living a fulfilled and Sober life . I followed the AA steps, got a wonderful sponsor and have followed that path ever since. — Pamela R.

    • “Thank you Wayside for being there for her when she needed your help the most!!!”   Woohoo!!! 

    • Wayside taught me how to be a woman and live life clean & sober!

      Alexandra N.

    • “Wayside is more than treatment. It is a home. I grew up emotionally in that little house. I was there for 9 months and they were the best 9 months of my life. To have time to learn about yourself and take the time to focus on yourself is such a blessing. The plants I planted are still there. I see them in the photos. Such a special place!!”

      Amanda O.

    • This is an excellent treatment facility and all women down in Delray Beach, FL. …if you have anything you can send to help these young/older women, believe me anything is appreciated. This place and God did wonders for my girl.

      Amy G

    • Wayside House is where i went to rehab & they are AMAZING!! Its a 90 day program & alot of the girls have absolutely nothing when they move into the house. If your feel generous, or just want to help, it’s a worthy cause!!  Mandy W.

    • Allen S.

      “What a rich heritage Wayside House has!”

    • Rita P.

      “It was so nice to hear from Wayside House.  I am still employed and I love my job!!! I will have 9 months on the 21st of October…..All thanks to Wayside and you ladies at the Posner Center!!!!🤗”

    • Katrin O.

      “Tonight’s Wayside House Anniversary meeting and listening to the journey’s with 1,2,6,22,29 and 33 years in sobriety empowered my heart! So happy for one of the girls I sent to Wayside House.”

    • Jan S.

      “Wayside does such good work in our community.” 

    • Leah J.

      “I just wanted to thank you for how you and the team make the world a better place.  I won’t claim to understand the things you sacrifice, but you are truly wonderful for doing so.“

    • Janine T.

      “I  highly recommend Wayside Women’s in Delray Beach. My daughter completed their wonderful program, she’ll have 2 years July 1st. They have an active alumni. I couldn’t say enough good things about them, they’ve been doing this since mid70’s.”

    • Stacy J.

      “ Thankful for my sobriety and for Wayside! “

    • Susan B.

      “Wayside House was and is an amazing place to me. I am on a journey that is better than I could have ever imagined. The strength of the women that came before me, that are beside me, and those that are there now teach me how to live “.

    • Lisa D.

      “Wayside saved my life and I will never be able to repay them for everything they have done for me.”

    • Dolores A.

      “Wayside house saved my daughter’s life. She transformed into the beautiful woman I knew she could be. It’s only been a few months but one day at a time she and I are enjoying her recovery journey!!!”

    • Jeanne H.

      “We appreciate all that you do to help individuals in recovery, demonstrating God’s love in our community. Your staff at Wayside House continue to help in so many ways, women and their families that need the love, care and support that you are able to provide. Thank you so much for all you do for them.  May God continue to bless you, your staff and your volunteers each and every day for the light you provide for our community.”

    • Susan C.

      “ Wayside is “the light”! Congratulations on the article in the Palm Beach Post
      for all you do to make the commitment to help those in need.”

    • Lynne B.

      “I will always be grateful to Wayside for giving my daughter the tools and knowledge to live a sober life on the outside. You changed her life thank you thank you thank you, may all the people that pass through your wonderful cozy house succeed in sobriety as well.”

    • Katy B.

      “I am sober and happy today thanks to Wayside.”

    • A.D.

      “Having the opportunity to go to Wayside was the best thing I’ve ever done. They lovingly deconstructed my life so I could put it back together. They are a serious program that gave me the ability to understand myself in a way I never thought was possible. They didn’t baby me and they taught me how to be beautifully authentic with myself and those around me. I really can’t thank them enough.”

    • Susan T.

      “Please keep up your wonderful work; the kids of south Florida need you.”

    • Jaimie K.

      “I am making this donation and thank you for all you do!”

    • Pam H.

      “Celebrating 29 years 7/22/2016. Sponsoring, 3-5 meetings a week, and forever grateful to Wayside House!”

    • Laura B.

      “I will be celebrating my 17th year clean and sober.  PLEASE share with the celebrants that I am with them in spirit even though I can’t be with them.  Wayside rocks!  Remind them to stay until the magic happens.”

    • BH alumni

      “I just want to give a shout out to the Wayside staff and alumni who organized and participated in the first annual gratitude dinner. The entire evening was absolutely devine! Wayside House saved my life and I am so very happy that you are at the helm.”

    • Brenda

      “Just walking down memory lane! I Love Wayside House! I went through twice!!
      LOL!! Clean and sober today! Love to all the women! XOXO”

    • Ashley

      “Thank you to Marlies and the Posner Center because without your guidance I wouldn’t have been pushed to pursue what I love and want out of a job and school. You’re amazing!”

    • Colletta D.

      “Proud to be a donor supporter of your efforts.”

    • Sara W.

      “Wayside House saved my life. It was a place that gave me a purpose to follow my dreams. And gave me a life that I never thought could be possible. It is a place where God lives in the lives of so many recovering women. Thank you.”

    • Andrea S.

      “So many miracles and beautiful souls are at Wayside. It’s a very special place.”

    • Phoebe M.

      “What an incredible gift to have gone to Wayside House.  Keep up the great work!”

    • Kathy G.

      “I’m so grateful to be a Wayside Winner 12/89 . One day at a Time.”

    • Christine D.

      “I have to commend Wayside House. They are a 1st class treatment center.”

    • Christine A.

      “I went through Wayside House in 1991 and have been clean and sober for 23 years. I have had four children, two grandchildren, and am happily married. The aftercare and parenting groups that Wayside had is something that helped me so very much as a new parent who was fairly new in recovery. I now have a Bachelor’s degree in social work and am working on a Master’s degree in counseling specializing in addictions counseling. If I had not been placed in Wayside House so many years ago I would have never been able to achieve the things that I have in my life. I am forever grateful for the blessing it has had in my life!”

    • Jeffrey Lane Esq., Weiner, Lynne & Thompson P.A.

      “Wayside is the benchmark by which I hold other similar facilities too.”

    • John Lehman, President FARR

      “I know many women whose lives have been greatly impacted by the quality support they experienced while enrolled and residing in your program. My first hand knowledge dates back to 1980 and I can attest to Wayside’s long tradition of excellence.”

    • J.L.

      “Wayside House saved my sobriety at a critical time in my life. My HP knew I needed to be there and surrounded by strong women who believed in me. Thank you!”

    • Evelyn H.

      “ My life has changed very deeply. I have been given the gift of life in sobriety and treating it like a present.”

    • Cynthia F.

      “I hated God & tried not to believe in any higher power before getting sober. Now I know that each day is a gift and
      that all things are possible through my spiritual connection. All of life is a miracle and for the ultimate good.”

    • Liz D.

      “I just wanted to send my gratitude and thanks for all you have done for me and thousands of women out there recovering from addictions.”

    • Sally W.

      “God bless your work at Wayside.”

    • T.P.

      “Thank you for all that you have done to make me experience Wayside and the true change in my life through this program. I am grateful.”

    • Cindy

      “To all of you fortunate enough to celebrate the holidays at Wayside, I hope you find peace and happiness.
      My Christmas at Wayside was one of the best ever as I received the lasting gift of sobriety. God Bless you all!”

    • Anonymous

      “ My children have been returned and I have found God.”

    • Anonymous

      “Wayside House and God have given me a life I never thought I deserved.”

    • Anonymous

      “Wayside House played a very big role in treating our daughter. We will be forever grateful for you and our blessings from the Lord.”

    • Anonymous

      “ I have restored relationships with my family and learned how to love others. I am accountable, help and trust others and enjoy living life. I have peace and I don’t worry. I know that everything is going to be OK. I also attend three meetings a week and sponsor several women.”

    • Anonymous

      “ By spending time with my awesome God every morning who saved me by touching my life while at Wayside. God continues to draw me close to him.”

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