by Lexi Petronis, Glamour
Recent research has shown an alarming rise in addiction among women-here's why that's a major problem.
According to Sarah Gentry, the clinical director of men's and women's Treatment Services at Hanley Center and Caron Treatment Centers, there are lots of reasons for the rise. "It has become more acceptable for women to drink socially or use prescription medications in our society. Where once it was off limits to show a woman smoking a cigarette in a campaign, now women and their sexuality are used regularly in ads for social drinking. Prescription medications target women's anxiety and depression issues and offer that they are the solution for them to feel good enough to take care of the kids and participate in social settings," she says. "It's become an accepted social norm for women to commiserate over cocktails and calm their fears with anti-anxiety medication. The result is that many women are unable to recognize the difference between moderation and abuse. Family and friends play an important role in recognizing and preventing addiction-they're often the first to see the signs and symptoms of overuse."
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Gentry adds that women with addiction issues are also kept hidden because of "social stigma that women aren't supposed to be addicts or alcoholics." And because women are pulled in so many directions--work, family, spouse, friends, other commitments-they can often put themselves last, being caretakers for everyone except themselves, Gentry says.
And what's especially concerning is that the warning signs in women are slightly different than the ones you might find in men. Gentry says that men "might start to keep financial secrets or exhibit aggressive or grandiose behavior," while women "might avoid family and friends, disappear for periods of time, or make excuses for not being available."
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Worried someone you know might be an addict? Take a look at these five warning signs:
- Forgetfulness: a consistent inability to remember significant details or past activities and conversations.
- Changes In Mood: unordinary, yet ongoing change in disposition including irregular irritability, anger and depression, with a lack of interest in important relationships.
- Change in Physical Appearance: a noticeable lack of interest in personal hygiene and appearance.
- Loss of Time: a disappearance for several hours or days without notifying family and friends.
- Inability to Control Drinking in Social Situations: attending social events leads to excessive drinking or daily activities are planned around drinking.
Does anyone you know display these signs? Or has she in the past? How did you-and she-deal with it?
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by Lexi Petronis, Glamour