Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Addiction in Women

by AdamS on July 27, 2012

The percentage of women who suffer from drug addiction in addition to a variety of mental health problems like post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression problems is far greater than it is for men.  That means that there is a pretty clear link between mental health problems and drug or alcohol addiction in women.  Many women suffer from these mental problems because they were either physically or sexually abused and it makes them turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with the stress.  These women will need to get dual diagnosis treatment when they check into drug rehab so that they can be treated correctly.  Some of these women may also need to be put into a separate womens program because a lot of their mental triggers are linked to the opposite sex.  Check out for more information on women’s programs.

Problems Affecting Women

Throughout history, women have been encouraged to self-medicate to deal with their emotional issues and the physical symptoms of the menstrual cycle.  In addition to all that encouraged self-medication, women are subjected to a lot more emotional abuse and sexual abuse than men are which often causes anxiety and stress.  The most common treatment for stress and anxiety is psychotropic medication like Xanax or valium which are prescribed to calm these women down, instead of trying to treat these symptoms holistically.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Most people think of soldiers returning from combat when they think of someone suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, but the reality is that more often than not it is women who have been physically, sexually or emotionally abused that suffer from the disorder.  Women struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder all the time and it largely goes unnoticed by the American public.  The women suffering from this mental disorder are much more likely to start drinking more and treating themselves with prescription medications like Xanax or other benzodiazepines.  They can subsequently become addicted to these medications and end up abusing them for most of their lives.

Substance Addiction in Women

A recent study done by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse found that women are more easily addicted to drugs and alcohol than men.  Men have more water in their bodies to dilute substances that enter the body, women have more fatty tissue that hold the chemicals longer which can cause them to become addicted to drugs or alcohol after a much smaller dose than men.   Women feel the effects of drugs and alcohol sooner and more intense than men.

The problem with a lot of drug addiction cases involving women is that they are suffering from a lot more than just the substance problem.  Often, women require dual diagnosis treatment programs at rehab facilities in order to treat the mental health issues beyond the physical drug or alcohol addiction.  In order to get to the real root of their addictions, a womens program can help these women figure out what emotional trigger is causing them to use drugs.  By treating both problems at the same time, these women will have a much better chance of making a full recovery.  Check out for more information on dual diagnosis.

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