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hormonal changes

Women’s Strengths Aid in Addiction Recovery

Addiction Recovery – Women’s Strengths Aid

When we think about addiction, it’s all too common that we focus on the negative aspects of the story: the toll that it takes on Treatment for Womenfamily and friends, as well as the addict themselves. This is especially true when it comes to women who are addicts, because narratives about women are more likely to center on how their families are impacted by addiction. The other side of the story is a much more positive one: women tend to have particular strengths that mean they often move through the recovery process more easily than men.

According to academic evidence, women recover from addiction at higher rates than men. One of the primary reasons for this is a simple matter of biology: women progress more rapidly through the various stages of addiction. They hit “rock bottom” sooner than men, and as a result, they get into recovery programs sooner than men. That means women, as a group, experience less of the physical devastation wrought by addiction, and this helps to make the recovery process less physically demanding.

womens-eyeAnother important difference is also related to biological factors. Women are more than twice as likely as men to develop mood disorders such as depression and anxiety, partly because women go through a wide variety of hormonal changes throughout their lives. Mental health issues often underlie addiction, and getting treatment helps female addicts address their addiction.

Finally, there are the social strengths of women. Girls and women are encouraged much more so than boys and men to express emotion, to develop expressive relationships, and to allow themselves the luxury of accepting help when they’re in need. All of these factors together are enormously important in the recovery process, which means that women tend to have more tools for coping with recovery in general.

Melissa Hilton

Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Women

Lots of women first develop generalized anxiety disorder during childhood

GAD and Women


Studies have shown that while 19 million Americans suffer from anxiety disorders each year, of that number, the majority of them are women.

Feeling anxious is quite normal — until and unless it starts interfering with one’s day-to-day life, or preventing one from reaching their goals. In fact, normal anxiety is a contributing factor to helping us get things accomplished — especially in women.

What most people don’t realize is that many women suffer from generalized anxiety disorder. Women are “natural born worriers” for the most part, but there are those women who suffer a bit more than others. Women who suffer from GAD worry about everything, and that fear brings about physical problems, such as headaches, muscle tension, an inability to relax, fatigue, lack of focus, and more.

Would you believe that many of these women first develop GAD during childhood?

It is true — and because of this, they never even realize that there is a problem. In fact, they often will assume that everyone worries as much as they do. It’s completely “normal” as far as they are concerned, because it has always been a part of their lives. Most of these women cope very well with the anxiety — simply because they are used to it.

Then there are those who have never suffered from GAD, and actually never have had worried more than anyone else about things. Suddenly, they are overwhelmed with anxious feelings. And because this is new, and they are not used to it, it becomes a huge thing to worry about — on top of whatever else they may be worrying about.

Often, for women, the cause of the anxiety in this situation is hormonal changes. Estrogen and progesterone levels change over time. In fact, a woman is likely to experience more anxiety during PMS, perimenopause, menopause, and even pregnancy. Estrogen affects the levels of serotonin that the brain is producing. This serotonin gives us our “sense of well-being.”

For lots of women, the anxiety passes as either time or medication puts the hormone levels back into check. Other women may discover that they have been suffering from GAD for most of their lives, with the change in hormone levels drastically elevating the condition.

In any case, there is treatment and help available. You can go through life without so much worry and anxiety.