All the naturally occurring narcotics, hallucinogens, euphoriant substances have been abused since centuries in all parts of the world. Previously, “drinking” or smoking by ladies was not accepted in society. With gender equality, world over, women are coming at par with men in all fields, including taking addicting substances.
There is a high rate of consumption of psychotropic drugs among women in developed countries as per statistics of studies.
Consumption of opium and tobacco in various forms is widely prevalent in women in the poor communities in developing countries. Alcoholism is common in both rich and poor women maybe for different reasons across the world.
Any addiction is bad for both physical and mental health of a person, but more so for women. The body structure, physiology and hormonal balance are different in women from men making them physically delicate and emotionally more labile.
This difference extends to the tolerance to addicting substances also. Alcohol levels in the blood build up at a much lower level in women. Intoxication and habituation also occurs earlier in women.
Women are also more prone to develop complications much early as compared to men. Nutritional imbalance occurs more in women taking addicting substances.
Therefore women irrespective of their socio-economic status become malnourished if addicted to alcohol or drugs. A woman taking addicting drugs, alcohol or smoking exposes herself to many risks, first being physical and emotional dependence.
That is a state where she would crave for the substance and develop insomnia, restlessness, muscle pains, e.t.c. without it.
Tolerance to the addicting substance develops over time because of which one starts taking more and more amount of the drug.
Gradually the addict lady starts neglecting herself and those close to her. With a man being addicted he alone suffers but in case of a woman getting addicted, whole family suffers.
Alcohol taken during pregnancy even if few times can lead to abortions, low birth weight baby, physical and mental retardation in the baby. Other drugs like cocaine, marijuana, e.t.c., also cause premature births and fetal defects.
Those taking drugs by intravenous route can develop infection of the heart valves, hepatitis B and C and also HIV. The side effects of these drugs also come earlier and with greater intensity in women.
Now question arises, why women start taking drugs? Social problems like broken families and marital discord are one of the common reasons for women to start abusing drugs. Some women start taking drugs to avoid the harsh realities of life.
This is more so in women belonging to the socially weak and deprived sections of the society.
For some women it is also the means for rebellion against restrictions imposed upon them. Teenage girls start addictions for this reason only to regret much later in life. Peer pressure also motivates some young women to start experimenting with addicting substances.
Some women especially of the upper strata of the society take drugs just for the fun of it. They get so bored of leading idle monotonous lives of luxury that to get some thrill or excitement they start taking alcohol and drugs.
Some terminally sick women take drugs to seek relief from pain and gradually get addicted to it.
The drug addict woman needs a good and patient counseling. The probable cause of addiction should be traced and rectified. Physical and mental hazards of the addiction should be explained to her very well.
The family should treat her as lovingly as before and in no way should be critical. This would make her cooperate for deaddiction.
Withdrawal of the offending substance should be gradual and under the advice and supervision of a medical personnel. Sedatives and tranquilizers are needed to overcome the withdrawal symptoms.
Due attention should be given to the nutritional level of the affected woman as mostly they suffer from lack of essential nutrients.
Once the addicted woman has given up her habit, she should be suitably engaged, to prevent her from falling back into that habit.
Addiction in a woman should be a concern for all responsible persons in a family and the society. Therefore all should cooperate to solve this problem.