How Society Pays
The Neurochemistry of Addiction
Addiction: A Genetic Disease
Female Issues

Alcohol and Drugs

General Trends

Medical Aspects


Psychological Differences

Relationship Issues

Recent Research

Treatment for Addiction
Relapse: Sex, Love, and Relationships
Addiction and the Family

General Trends

  • Overall, women use less alcohol and drugs and use less often than men, but are more frequent users of prescribed psychoactive drugs.
  • However, young women are showing higher frequency rates for drinking than generations of women before them. College women who drank to relieve shyness, get high, or get along better on dates, had highest levels of drinking later in life.
  • Usage statistics:
    • 4 million women and 11 million men in the US are alcoholics
    • 4.1 percent of all women admit using an illicit drug in the last month
    • 8.1 percent of age women ages 18-25 admit using an illicit drug in the last month
  • Women are more likely to hide their drug and alcohol use. 84 percent of alcoholic women do their drinking at home. Alcoholism is likely to be minimized by family, friends, doctors of women who are married, employed, upper socioeconomic class.
  • Alcoholic women are more likely to enter treatment with histories of tranquilizer, sedative and amphetamine abuse (typically prescribed), versus other illicit drugs.
  • Rates of smoking have remained unchanged in women (22 percent smoke), while rates for men have declined. More new smokers are female than male. Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer death in women since 1986 when it surpassed breast cancer.

Excerpted from Sheila Blume, MD "Women: Clinical Aspects," Substance Abuse: A Comprehensive Textbook, Third Edition, 1997, Editors: Joyce Lowinson, Pedro Ruiz, Robert Millman, John Langrod and summarized by Eileen Beyer, Psy. D., CAC Diplomate.

icon for request appointment Request an appointment online or call 800-789-PENN