Women who have addictive behaviors face serious social and psychological consequences. Women who become addicted often do so because a part of their life is impaired either physically or mentally. Their addictive behaviors are a way of coping with the impairment they face and can severely damage all aspects of their lives. In many cases early childhood traumas can leave scars on the psyche which can set them up for a lifetime of addictive and self destructive behaviors. As the addictive behaviors take root they are often linked with serious consequences which impact very sensitive areas of their lives. We will explore the top 5 areas which can be affected by addiction.
1 – Domestic Violence
Addiction has been closely linked with domestic violence in many studies. The cycle of violence is similar to addictive behavior. It is passed from one generation to another involving both denial of the problem and social isolation of the family. Domestic violence and addiction can exacerbate each other leading to abuse and addiction or addiction and abuse. This can send women and children down a dark spiral of pain and suffering. The inability to break away from the cycle can become a learned helplessness passed from one generation to another.
2 – Work
The revenue losses stemming from absenteeism and low productivity from addition is in the hundreds of billions. These losses can in part be attributed to women missing work and performing poorly due to addiction. Those who abuse drugs and alcohol are more likely to skip three or more days at work and change jobs much more frequently. In some cases women with addiction problems changed jobs more than 4 times a year. Even though more women are working outside the home more than ever before they are still the primary house work provider. The losses in the home are equally as damaging as at work.
3 – Parenting
Drug addicted and alcoholic women can find that housework and child rearing can be an impossible task. Home life can be turned into chaos when mothers are addicted to destructive behaviors and studies have shown links between women addicted to alcohol and major depressive disorder. Depression is an even great risk when alcohol addicted mothers are single parents living on government assistance. Children often pay the greatest price from addicted moms due to the lack of nurturing, healthy role modeling, poverty and child neglect that can accompany addiction.
4 – Withdrawal
Regular substance abuse leads to greater and greater drug tolerance requiring more of the drug to produce the desired high. When the physical and mental dependence becomes so high that the body adjusts to work normally when on the drug withdrawal can be a major concern. Stopping the substance abruptly causes the body to suddenly fall far from its normal function leading to serious side effects. Serious withdrawal symptoms are more than just unpleasant. Withdrawal can be a life threatening condition and knowing the signs of it can save someone’s life. Drug rehab should be undertaking under the care of mental health professionals to avoid life threatening withdrawal.
5 – Health
Women and men do not have the same body mass index and makes them susceptible to substance abuse in different ways than men. Alcoholic women have been found to have lower amounts of both grey and white brain matter as well as increased spinal fluid in the ventricles. The same brain study in alcoholic men shows more grey and white matter and less CSF in the ventricles even though men and women alcoholics tend to drink the same amounts. This decreased brain matter can lead to early dementia like symptoms in women Addictive behaviors also impact the reproductive health of women, health to the fetus during pregnancy, and an increased risk of sexually transmitted diseases. Substance cause during pregnancy has serious consequences on the unborn child which can lead to lifelong problems.
Fantastic treatment options exist for women with addiction to get help. Inpatient and residential drug rehab facilities, outpatient clinics, self help groups and other options are out there depending on severity. Addiction is a multifaceted problem that also calls for solutions for couples problems, children’s issues, stress, anxiety, and depression. These co morbidities must be addressed for successful treatment outcomes. Regardless of the treatment those with the addiction should be involved in the development of the plan to increase ownership of the process. Consequences of addition can run much deeper than the five we explored and all consequences are serious in their own light.
About the Author: Hyrum Taffer is a freelance writer and expert in drug addiction and recommends www.drugrehab.org for excellent information regarding treatment for alcoholism and substance abuse.