In midst of an era where feminism is in vogue, females are equally prone to drug addiction as are males. Although males abuse drugs at an earlier age and more frequently than females, females tend to become addicted more quickly once they are introduced to drugs — a phenomenon is known as “telescoping.” Women tend to relapse at higher rates than men after going through rehab, and they tend to suffer from more serious consequences to their health, occupational status, relationships, and finances.
Punjab has in recent years seen a rise in the cases registered under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act against women. Both police and psychiatrists attribute the trend to the use of girls and women for peddling to avoid suspicion, many of among who turn addicts.
The recent study titled ‘Epidemiology of Substance Use and Dependence in the State of Punjab’, by the faculty of PGIMER, published in March 2018 in an indexed international journal, says that in Punjab almost 4.1 million people have been found to be using one substance or the other (licit or illicit) at least once in their lifetime. Among the lifetime users, 4 million were men and around 0.1 million were women. A number of people dependent on any substance in their lifetime were 3.2 million, with 3.1 million men and 0.1 million women.
The specific reason for these differences is still being investigated. Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology proposes that differences in brain chemistry and the influence of female sex hormones like estrogen may account for women’s susceptibility to certain drugs, including stimulants like meth and cocaine. The incidence of mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and eating disorders is higher in women than in men, which may predispose females to become addicted to certain substances. The National Alliance on Mental Illness, for example, states that depression is twice as common in females as in males. Prescription painkillers, tranquilizers, and alcohol are common drugs of abuse among people who suffer from mood disorders and anxiety. The frequency of psychiatric conditions like depression, bipolar disorder, anorexia, and bulimia — all of which are associated with an increased risk of substance abuse — among women may be partly responsible for their vulnerability to chemical dependence and addiction.
Just as males and females differ in their drug use patterns, they differ in their favored drugs of abuse. Harvard Medical School reports the following results on male and female drug use:
Disturbingly, recent statistics show that overdose deaths among women are increasing, especially among females who abuse prescription opioids. CDC Vital Signs states that opioid overdose deaths have increased by 400 percent among women since 1999.
Women are less likely than men to seek treatment, and more likely to face gender-specific treatment barriers. Various factors, such as childcare responsibilities, transportation, financial status, and social stigma, lack of awareness regarding treatment options, concerns about confrontational approaches that were pervasive in male-dominated traditional substance abuse treatment, co-occurring mental disorders or a history of trauma and victimization, as well as homelessness all present possible barriers for women.
To enhance treatment seeking and retention, our hospital, under the guidance of a proficient psychiatrist, Dr.Sukhtej Sahni, and Dr.Satinder Kaur Cheema has set up treatment programs that consider offering childcare, prenatal care, women-only treatment, and services specifically for women’s issues.
The various reasons are:
When it comes to treating drug addiction, both men and women can benefit from a comprehensive program that encompasses the full continuum of care, from detox to residential treatment, partial hospitalization, outpatient services, and transitional living. Effective treatment therapies on this continuum of recovery services include:
The focal area of the treatment at De-addiction Centre, CMC Mohali, is that even after the patient is discharged from our premises i.e. post-discharge, we make it a point to: