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How To Get Help For My Daughter’s Alcohol Or Drug Addiction

Brenda Munnerlyn, RN, BSN

Medically reviewed by

Brenda Munnerlyn, RN, BSN

April 8, 2019

Watching your little girl fall into the throes of addiction is one of the most heart-wrenching things a parent can experience. Drugs will change her personality and may even get her in trouble with the law. There are unique problems that surround female addiction and understanding them can help you guide your daughter to a new life of sobriety.

Girls Use Less Than Boys…But May Be More Prone To Addiction

Addiction in girls and women is much different than addiction in boys or men. Studies have shown that men are much more likely to abuse high levels of drugs than women. However, women that do abuse drugs are at a higher risk of developing a real addiction. The reasons for this situation are unique but easily understood.

First of all, societal pressures regarding drug use are generally higher in men. They also respond to peer pressure at a much higher rate, meaning that they are more likely to use drugs or drink alcohol if their friends push for it. Since girls aren’t as pressured as often to use drugs, they are less likely to fall victim to peer pressure.

However, women that do use drugs are often at higher risk for developing an addiction. This is due to the differences in male and female anatomy. Men are, generally, taller, weigh more and have a higher muscle density than women. This means that their bodies more easily metabolize drugs. Smaller girls will react more severely to drugs and their body will develop an addiction much more quickly.

These facts are important to remember because they help explain why your daughter may have suddenly developed an addiction and why she is having a harder time quitting. Remember: withdrawal symptoms will also be harder for smaller girls to handle, meaning they are more likely to continue using to avoid withdrawal.

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Talking To Her About Addiction May Be More Difficult Than With A Son

Approaching your daughter to talk about her addiction may be a lot more difficult than if you had to discuss it with a son. A study of Detroit’s substance abuse problem showed that women in treatment for substance abuse often have more problems during the initial assessment stage than men. Unfortunately, they also have lower retention rates and lower completion rates than men.

This means, essentially, that it was much harder to discuss addiction with women and to successfully treat it than it was for men. Why is this the case? It’s hard to say, but it may have something to do with the types of substances men and women tend to abuse. Men in substance abuse treatment are generally being treated for illegal substance abuse, such as heroin or cocaine use.

However, women are more prone to develop an addiction to pain killers, such as Vicodin or Percocet, because of their higher rates of problems like arthritis. The differences in the perception of these drugs are important: most men understand that drugs like heroin or cocaine are dangerous. Therefore, it’s much easier to talk about addiction to these medicines and treat them like a real problem.

Trying to get your daughter to understand that addiction to a prescribed medicine is dangerous will be much more difficult. She may argue that she still needs the medicine to treat her pain or that it’s a legal drug and, therefore, not a problem. Whatever the reasoning, it often makes it that much harder to talk about addiction with your daughter.

Utilizing Interventions To Break Through These Problems

Breaking through to your daughter may require dedication to the difficult process of intervention. Essentially, you, friends, and family members need to sit down with her to discuss the ways addiction has hurt her and the rest of the family. She is likely to grow very defensive: studies have shown that women tend to be more sensitive about the stigma of addiction than men.

Try to make her understand that you aren’t judging her for her addiction, but that you are simply concerned about her safety. That you understand, love, and respect her. That nothing she could do or say would make you love her any less. Getting her to feel these emotions may be difficult: problems centering around her addiction may have made it difficult to communicate.

However, persistence and honesty usually pay off with interventions. After all, interventions have a success rate of nearly 90 percent. And once you’ve gotten her to admit she has a problem, it’ll be easier to guide her into a high-quality inpatient rehab or outpatient substance abuse problem. Here, she’ll receive detoxification services, physical and mental health assessment, and tips designed to help her stay sober.

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help

If you are struggling to find the help your daughter needs to beat her addiction, please don’t hesitate to contact us at RehabCenter.net to learn more. Our expert counselors will help you find a treatment that works well for her needs and help you regain a daughter.

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