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Ice Addiction in Women

Drug use by females is on the rise and due to the way drugs effect women differently to men we are seeing an increase of ice addiction in women.

Ice addiction – it’s not just men

Drug addiction has traditionally been considered to be a male issue but drug use is now on the rise in females. Unfortunately women are less likely to seek treatment for their drug and alcohol addiction issues.

We find there is a shame and stigma in being a woman addicted to drugs, particularly if you have children.

Why women get addicted to ice

Women become addicted to ice due to a range of different reasons, including physical, genetic, traumatic issues, mental health and social expectations.

Ice addiction in women – it’s in the genes

Genetic factors, such as women being smaller and metabolising drugs differently to men, influence the more rapid progression of ice addiction in women.

Compared with men, women are more vulnerable to the effects of drugs, requiring smaller amounts to be hooked faster.

Women also experience a higher risk of disease and face more serious, and severe, long term health problems as a result of using drugs.

Mental health and body image

“I used ice because it made me lose weight. What I didn’t bargain for were the scabs that showed up all over my body and an inability to sleep for days on end”.

In women, trauma and co existing conditions, particularly depression, anxiety, trauma and eating disorders often precipitate, or exist with, drug taking behaviours.

In particular, concerns about body image, shape and size often drive women, who are unaware of the side effects, to use ice as it is a potent appetite suppressant.

A recent study shows that 35% of people with a substance use disorder also have an eating disorder and it is prevalent with ice addiction in women.

Former addict and author, Jenny Valentish, states, “Eating disorders are very female coping mechanisms. Any act of aggression against one’s own body is also an act of regaining ownership of it, which can be particularly appealing to a woman with little autonomy.”

“I used ice because I didn’t want to feel”

Jenny Valentish also believes women are also more likely than men to abuse drugs and alcohol as a means of self-medicating the symptoms of mental illness.

This is borne out in the concurrent rise of reporting of mental health issues and ice addiction in women.

Addiction and domestic abuse

Women with family members and intimate partners who also use, are often victims of domestic violence and abuse.

A UK study showed that women are twice as likely as men to experience interpersonal violence and abuse.

Fear of domestic violence, personal safety, and safety concerns of their children will often make women resistant to addiction treatment.

Furthermore, if a woman considers her role to be central to the stability of her family, or fears that she will lose her children as a result of her drug taking it will make her less likely to seek treatment.

If she is being financially controlled or manipulated by a partner, this can also prevent access to treatment.

“I used ice because I needed to stay awake and maintain control in an abusive relationship. I was scared of what might happen if I fell asleep. I had no idea I would become addicted so quickly.”

Ice use is becoming increasingly common in domestic violence scenarios.

Ice stimulates the release of the neurotransmitters, dopamine and noradrenalin, which are both associated with the “flight or fight” response.

Heavy ice use can elicit agitation, hallucinations and psychosis which often makes the user feel threatened.

Combined with the “fight or flight effect”, ice can render users to experience heightened strength and stamina and become violent towards others.

This is described as an “ice rage”, which can last up to twelve hours.

Ice addiction treatment for women

The Hader Clinic QLD provides specialised Addiction Treatment for Women.

Our Residential treatment program provides a safe environment for women to begin the process of treatment, and recovery from ice addiction.

Additionally, The Hader Clinic QLD provides family therapy. Research from the NAATP that shows that women fare better when support is offered by their families.

NAATP research also demonstrates that women respond better to treatment and are likely to maintain recovery when they are placed in a supportive network of other women who are committed to complete abstinence from drugs and alcohol.

The Hader Clinic QLD provides individualised options for treatment and understands the unique characteristics and needs of female clients.

Further information

Women and addiction
FAQ
Dual Diagnosis – Mental Health and Addiction
Women’s Addiction Treatment

Need help?

Call The Hader Clinic QLD today on 1300 856 847 for a confidential discussion about how we can help you.

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