Effects of Drug and Alcohol Abuse on Women

Drug abuse has many side effects on both males and females. However, according to research, alcohol consumption in women has more repercussions compared to men. Women are likely to have severe organ damage compared to men.

Women and men have different metabolisms and different brain functionality levels. The good news is that women who abuse drugs may get help in recovery institutions through multiple options such as detoxification and therapy.

Prenatal Exposure to Drugs and Alcohol Abuse

In the womb, the fetus depends on the placenta for food, respiration, and excretion. As the mother abuses drugs and alcohol, the child feeds on the toxic substances through the placenta. Such substances affect fetus growth and may cause irreversible effects on a child even after it is born. Examples of drugs and their out-turn include:

Alcohol

Especially in the first trimester, alcohol abuse may cause miscarriage, low birth weight, and premature birth. Heavy drinking may result in fetal alcohol syndrome, which involves poor growth and learning difficulty for a child.

Cocaine

Cocaine causes hypertension and vasoconstriction that may lead to abortion and placental abruption. Placental abruption occurs due to reduced maternal blood flow to the placenta. Babies born may have reduced weight, lower IQ, decrease in alertness, and reduced motor skills.

Opioids

They cause severe withdrawal symptoms after a child’s delivery. Withdrawal symptoms include sweating, seizures, jitteriness, and irritability.

Liver Damage

In a study, 50% of women taking alcohol were susceptible to liver complications, compared to 30% in men. Metabolic reactions in women are usually lower than in men due to the presence of the regulatory growth metabolism and the presence of the estrogen hormone. The drugs, therefore, remain in the body longer.

You can find out more about how you can recover from drug abuse through the help of a professional.

Brain Damage

Alcohol-dependent women have a high chance of developing brain damage compared to men. Long-term alcohol and drug abuse shrink the section of the brain responsible for memory and learning. One group of researchers in the U.S discovered that brain damage was worse in women than in men. Women abusing drugs are more likely to do tasks slower than men taking the same quantity of alcohol.

Cardiovascular Diseases

Women who take alcohol are easily exposed to cardiovascular complications such as high blood pressure, stroke, coronary heart disease, and cerebral cardiomyopathy. Heart complications are more common in people abusing drugs and alcohol and more in women than men.

Breast Cancer

Alcohol increases the production of the estrogen hormone in the body. Estrogen is known to increase the risk of breast cancer receptors. Alcohol may also alter the DNA, resulting in cancer. Women on alcohol have a 15% increased level of breast cancer risk.

As a woman abuses alcohol regularly, she increases her chances of having breast cancer by 10%. In the case of cancer diagnosis in earlier stages, alcohol usage aggravates the condition.

Increases Chances of Sexual Violence against Women

Although sexual violence can happen to anyone, alcohol and substance abuse may increase the vulnerability of sexual assault, especially in women. It is reported that high cases of abuse victims were high or drunk, making it impossible to ask for help. About 50% of women who reported an assault revealed that they were on alcohol and had no consent on what really happened.

Mental Illness and Depression

Alcohol is a depressant. Most women who take alcohol try to reduce their stress levels and end up depressed. As much as alcohol may seem to better the situation for a limited time, alcohol makes the victim sadder and more affected than before, resulting in depression.

Addiction and Dependence

Addiction and dependence happen eventually to anyone abusing drugs. However, women have shown ease at getting addicted compared to their male counterparts. A higher number of women with drug overdoses are more likely to end up in the hospital than men who overdose.

As much as alcohol and drug abuse affect both genders, women are more affected. Recovery centers have made it easy for women to quit alcohol and drugs through diverse methods such as detoxification.

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