GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Substance use disorders have been on the rise for women. However, much of what we understand as a society about addiction is based on studies around men. Women face some unique risk factors, causes, symptoms and concerns when it comes to substance use and need tailored addiction treatment.

Pine Rest’s Dr. Sonia Motin provides a better understanding of these differences and what we can do to support women.

Background Information from National Institute on Drug Abuse:
• Women often use substances differently than men, such as using smaller amounts of certain drugs for less time before they become addicted.
• Women can respond to substances differently. For example, they may have more drug cravings and may be more likely to relapse after treatment.
• Sex hormones can make women more sensitive than men to the effects of some drugs.
• Women who use drugs may also experience more physical effects on their heart and blood vessels.
• Brain changes in women who use drugs can be different from those in men.
• Women may be more likely to go to the emergency room or die from overdose or other effects of certain substances.
• Women who are victims of domestic violence are at increased risk of substance use.
• Divorce, loss of child custody or the death of a partner or child can trigger women’s substance use or other mental health disorders.
• Women who use certain substances may be more likely to have panic attacks, anxiety or depression.

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