Over the course of the last hundred years in the United States, women have been encouraged to self-medicate for emotional and physical symptoms of the estrus cycle, which were formerly labeled as hysteria. In the early 1900s, physicians regularly prescribed opiates for moodiness, pain or fatigue. Coca-Cola®, which contained cocaine as an ingredient in those days, was advertised as an afternoon pick-me-up for ladies.
In the 21st century, women are prescribed twice as many psychotropic medications by their doctors as are given to men and these may be prescribed over a very long time. It cannot be expected that a woman takes a psychotropic medication for years, which was originally prescribed for a temporary anxiety problem, without the risks of addiction and dependence.
There are many complicated factors involved in the development of addictions in women, including genetic predisposition. Clinical research and experience also show that women may experience not only expansive mood shifts, but also strong cravings during menses.
In the throes of addiction, not only does a woman have no power over her disorder, but she can lack a sense of her own self. Addiction to alcohol, drugs, food, gambling or sex always provides a release, not particularly because it is pleasurable, but because it is a way of coping or escaping, obscuring a woman’s true feelings about herself and emotional pain.
The addicted woman may attempt to engage in micro-management to ward off anxiety and feel in control, while she actually has little real control at all. Women are truly adept multi-taskers in daily life; but often women feel they must also be the person who keeps her own and others’ emotions under control and who must keep things running smoothly.
At Journey to Wellness, we understand what women go through in addiction, and how their experiences and needs can differ from those of men. All factors are taken into account, to provide the recovering woman a personalized and successful addiction treatment experience.