Chapter 14 and the DSM IV defines substance abuse as “a maladaptive pattern of substance use manifested by recurrent and significant adverse consequences related to the repeated use of substances” (Ashman, 4th edition 2013, pg. 442).
When researching my paper I decided to find the differences, if any, between women and male substance abusers. While researching for the ERA capstone project we did for human services, I found that causes of addiction in women was due to poverty, abuse, lack of resources and other reasons that all can be contributed to inequality of women in our society. The main reason women become addicted is due to self-medicating. I had a range of questions I began asking myself, and decided to do more research. Then I finally asked myself, “Why are women becoming increasing addicted?” In a newsletter by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, “Alcoholic women are more likely to report a history of child physical and emotional abuse than women who were non-alcoholics. Women who have been abused are fifteen times more likely to abuse alcohol and nine times more likely to abuse drugs, than women who have not been abused (NCADC). Butler Research stated, another problem is that women who have a substance abuse problem, 82% have a mental health disorder compared to 68% of males in the same program.
Women who suffer from substance abuse also have a higher rate of traumatic stressors and events. These events include sexual and physical abuse, accidents, disruption in family life, and sudden physical illnesses (Bradley, Ashley, Department of Health and Human Services, 2008). Women are also more likely than men to have recent physical, sexual, or mental abuse. Female treatment clients report more problems related to physical and sexual abuse. Including domestic violence victimization than males that are in treatment. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, women with substance abuse issues are more likely than men to report greater dysfunction in the family of origin and with the lack of adequate role models for parenting.
This goes back to the theory that most women turn to substances for self-medicating purposes due to unresolved traumas or events in their lives. Women’s addiction is also different because women not only self-medicate because of traumatic events, but also to function as a working mother/woman in a fast paced world. According to, “The DASIS Report (May 2005)” women were less likely than men to detoxify. One reason is because they are in denial and try to rationalize their substance abuse. So they are less likely to seek help unless it is court ordered because children were involved. SAMSHA, stated that as of 2008, 1/3 of the population being treated for substance abuse were women. According to SAMSHA’s November/December 2008 Newsletter, 6.9 million women are not receiving treatment. Approximately, 94% feel they do not need treatment. This has been a drastic increase over the...