Addiction is often an escape – from shame, rejection, pain, and intense emotions. When a women is in the throes of her addiction, she will often hide it not letting anyone know what’s going on with her, which only further exacerbates shame.
Plus, women today have a lot of expectations placed upon them. They are expected to raise their children, tend to their spouses, take care of household chores, and maintain a career. Not being able to meet all of these expectations can also bring on experiences of shame. the feeling of shame is often at the root of addiction for many addicts.
If an addiction does develop, a cycle of harm can develop. Furthermore, if a woman already has a strained relationship with their body, meaning that they don’t like it or that they feel it should be different, then the harm of addiction tends to only make that relationship worse. An addiction wreaks havoc on the body. Destruction to the brain and body can be severe with addictions to drugs such as heroin or methamphetamine.
Although developing an addiction to amphetamine isn’t true for all women, females who have been sexually or physically abused are more prone to developing an addiction. They might be unconsciously attempting to manage the intense feelings, such as powerlessness, that frequently accompany unresolved trauma. A woman might try to find escape in drinking or drug use from feelings of shame, anger, resentment, hurt, or unworthiness.
Along these lines, women often use drugs or alcohol to self-medicate or help regulate intense or uncomfortable emotions that stem from a distorted and unhealthy sense of self – which frequently results from trauma. Furthermore, many women are attempting to achieve a certain body image that the media perpetually emphasizes as being ideal. As a result, in an attempt to lose weight, women sometimes use diet aids that contain amphetamine and over time develop an addiction to amphetamines.
Once a woman begin contemplating treatment and recovery, she has many barriers in her way. A few of these barriers are described below:
- Women are more likely than men to encounter barriers that prevent them from seeking or following through with treatment.
- Women are more likely to experience economic barriers to sober living treatment.
- Women are more likely to have difficulty attending regular sober living treatment sessions because of family responsibilities.
- Women are more likely to report feeling shame or embarrassment regarding their participation in sober living treatment.
- When women also have anxiety and depressive disorders, which are more prevalent in women than men, it often prevents them from seeking addiction treatment.
Furthermore, a woman who is participating in drug treatment might continue to be resistant to recovery, even while she is in treatment. The dynamics of co-dependency, enabling, and powerlessness are common among those who are prone to addiction, including a woman’s family. For this reason, the demands of a woman’s family may continue to weigh on her while she is in treatment. Also, healing from an addiction is really also healing from dysfunctional relationships which might require a kind of surrender that a woman might not be willing to do when under the influence of a man.
Lastly, because shame plays such a heavy role in many women’s lives, addiction can keep them in the prison of hiding such feelings. If a woman seeks treatment, the escape is no longer viable and so those feelings that were the cause for escape often rise to the surface. It’s only when a woman is ready will she move through addiction treatment successfully. Yet, with a certain power of will, a woman can decide not to let shame get in the way of healing, happiness, and health.
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