Signs of Drug Addiction in Women

 In Women & Addiction

Research relating to addiction is often focused on men, primarily because earlier researchers generally assumed that addiction was mostly a male problem or that women with drug addiction have the same experiences as men have. However, there are significant environmental and biological factors; an addiction in women is so significantly different that it affects the way their treatment is approached. Not only is the approach to addiction treatment different for women than in men, but the signs of addiction in women may also be different. Here are some of the signs of drug addiction in women.

Physical Signs of Drug Addiction in Women

It’s important to note that drug addiction can affect women from all walks of life. The first step to identifying if a female in your life has an addiction problem is though physical signs. If you notice any of the following signs, it’s essential that ask them straightforward questions, including “are you using drugs”? If you suspect a drug addiction, it’s important to encourage them to seek addiction treatment immediately. Physical signs of an addiction to drugs may include:

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Dilated or pinpoint pupils
  • Sudden weight changes, either weight gain or weight loss
  • Difficulty walking, tremors and/or slurred speech
  • Overly energetic, increased alertness or hyperactivity
  • Lethargy
  • Change in sleep patterns
  • Marks on the skin
  • Frequent picking at or itching of the skin

Behavioral Signs of Drug Addiction in Women

If you haven’t witnessed the person in question using drugs or you have seen the physical signs of addiction, but you still suspect drug abuse, there are behavioral changes that may indicate addiction. It is important, however, to keep in mind that everyone’s behaviors often change for different reasons. For instance, the behaviors of a teenage girl may change as they transfer into adulthood. With that said, drug addiction can cause a wide range of behavioral changes in women, including:

  • Lack of motivation at work, school or home
  • Decrease in concern for personal hygiene and appearance
  • Increase in impulsive risks
  • Frequently borrowing money without an explanation
  • Changes and/or problems in relationships
  • Loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed
  • Withdrawing from social circles, friends, and family
  • Unexplained accidents, isolation or secrecy
  • Avoiding conversations and hiding things

Psychological Signs of Drug Addiction in Women

Teenage girls are notorious for their moodiness and personality changes, but extreme changes in their demeanor is often a sign of drug or alcohol use, especially in adult females. Many of the psychological signs of drug addiction are short-term, but with ongoing use, it can lead to long-term emotional and mental effects in women. Some of the common psychological signs of addiction in women may include:

  • Hallucinations or delusions
  • Increased confusion
  • Concentration difficulties
  • Short-term memory is diminished
  • Increased aggressiveness, hostility and belligerence
  • Sudden symptoms of a co-occurring disorder, such as depression, anxiety or paranoia
  • Loss of control
  • Compulsive drug cravings
  • Inability to stop drug use due to psychological dependence

Studies have shown that women are more prone to developing a drug addiction through less use of the drug than men. Women also tend to experience more social consequences, and they have a more difficult time quitting as well as a higher risk of relapse. This is due in part to the way women respond to stress. Women are also more likely than men to relapse into drug use in response to stress triggers. Unfortunately, women are also less likely to seek addiction treatment. The reason for this is because there is much more stigma attached to women and substance abuse. There is addiction treatment available that is designed specifically for women, which treats both the addiction as well as any co-occurring disorders. If you know a female that is suffering with drug addiction, it is essential for their life to encourage them to seek treatment as soon as possible.

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