Common Causes of Substance Abuse in Girls and Young Women

From the time they’re about 8 years old until they reach age 22, females go through drastic changes in their lives. It is during these years that they are learning who they are as individuals and how that fits into society and their peers. As they transition from adolescence to young adulthood, they find themselves susceptible to a lot. From their desire to belong to peer pressure and the physical and emotional changes that come with puberty, many end up falling prey to some form of substance abuse.

There are a number of reasons that women head down this path of destruction. Some are simply trying to fit in and experiment, others are having a difficult time transitioning, while some have a more deep-rooted issue going on. As girls and women are more likely to become dependent upon substances, they are at a higher risk of becoming addicts who require women’s addiction treatment to recover. Below is a more in-depth understanding of why so many girls, teens, and women end up abusing substances.

Mental Illness

Depression is a common mental illness among adolescent girls and young women. The struggle to fit in socially can sometimes lead to feelings of sadness and hopelessness. They often rely on substances like drugs and alcohol to cope with their pain.

Childhood Trauma

Lots of young girls and women have suffered a traumatic childhood experience such as being sexual, verbally, or physically abused by their peers, family members, and authority figures in their life. Such dynamics are emotionally and physically challenging to overcome. As many hide this “secret”, they internalize their pain and are more likely to lean on drugs or alcohol as a method of coping.

High Levels of Stress

Women and girls who are under pressure are more likely to internalize their feelings than to express them outwardly. The demands of school, their peers, society, relationships, and personal responsibilities can often become a lot to take on. Unable to cope they may start abusing substances.

Low Self-Esteem

Lack of confidence isn’t uncommon amongst teenage girls and young women. Trying to fit in they are often focused on their social and body image. Some abuse substances to lose weight or to appear cool and sexy while others use drugs and alcohol as a means for masking their inner pain.

Peer Pressure

Fitting in is the main priority for teenage girls and young women. If that means using drugs and alcohol to do it, many feel pressured to try it out. Encouraged by their peers or the social environments they’re in, women feel they have no choice but to use drugs so others will view them as cool.

Academic Pressure

Both high school and college are stressful points in an educational career for young adults. There is an undue amount of pressure to succeed and be the best. Increased workloads from school and the complexity of finding time for social enjoyment can force some to the edge. Using drugs to “enhance” their academic performance is very common. From drugs that keep you up for hours to substances that help you relax after a long day, they are willing to do what it takes to make it.

There are a number of reasons that girls and women decide to abuse harmful substances. Females have been proven to use drugs as a means of coping with stressful issues, soothing overwhelming emotions, boosting confidence, and changing their body (such as abusing diet pills to lose weight). As these reasons differ from reasons that men abuse drugs, women who suffer from addiction should seriously consider gender-specific treatment facilities to get the best care.

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