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4 Common Causes of Drug Addiction in Women

a woman struggles and leans on a table with a coffee mug next to her while she thinks about the causes of drug addiction in women

Women often face unique challenges when it comes to drug addiction. While there are many different causes of substance use, some factors tend to be more commonly seen in women than men.

At MD M.A.T.T., we offer addiction treatment services to women to help them recover from their drug addiction and lead healthier lives. Call us today at 410.816.9457 to learn more about the causes of drug addiction in women and how to find a treatment plan that suits you or a loved one.

Health Effects on Women through Drugs

Studies about substance use have revealed that women who use drugs can encounter disorders relating to the menstrual cycle, hormones, fertility, lactation, pregnancy, and menopause.

Other health issues may include:

  • Breast cancer in later life
  • Sleep disorder
  • Shortness of breath
  • Mood swings
  • Blotchy skin and acne
  • Hair fall

These are some of the many conditions that are more common in women than men. Furthermore, drugs in a woman’s system can make their way into her breast milk, exposing her child to various conditions and adversely impacting their early development.

4 Causes of Drug Addiction in Women

Studies have revealed that women start using drugs early, during middle or high school, at 15–20 years.1 There may be several reasons for them to start using, which differ widely from why men choose to use substances. We’ve listed some of the common factors due to which a young woman might develop a drug addiction and struggle with it until later in life:

1. Social Pressure

Many women, especially young girls, find it tough to fit in their schools or develop a cool image for themselves. Many girls might feel pressured to use drugs and alcohol to maintain their appearance and status among their peers. Some girls find themselves in friend groups that use drugs and alcohol regularly. They persuade them to use drugs as an experiment first, frequently leading to addiction.

2. Mental Health Conditions

Mental health conditions and drug use often go hand-in-hand with each other. It’s one of the top reasons for drug use in the younger generation. About 10% of American women suffer from depression.2 A few of them opt for drugs to relieve mental stress and treat other symptoms of poor mental health.

3. Trauma

Many young adult girls report at least one traumatic experience in their life. This can be related to sexual or physical abuse. Girls who have experienced these traumas often choose to self-medicate using drugs to fight their uncomfortable feelings. Drug use can also act as a distraction to avoid dealing with painful emotions.

4. Low Self-Esteem

Due to societal pressure and media depictions of the “ideal” shape, some women often have insecurities about their looks, appearance, and social status. Drinking and drug use can often lower inhibitions and promote confidence to the extent of recklessness. Chasing such a state of mind can quickly lead to addiction.

Why Is It Important to Understand Drug Abuse in Women?

Understanding the causes of drug addiction in women is essential for several reasons, such as offering women:

  • Individualized treatment plans – Recognizing the specific triggers and underlying causes of drug addiction in women allows for creation of personalized treatment plans that address these unique factors.
  • Prevention programs – Understanding the causes can help design targeted prevention programs as a proactive measure to minimize drug use initiation among women.
  • Support systems – It enables the formation of effective support systems that cater to women’s specific needs, providing emotional and psychological assistance.
  • Comprehensive care – It leads to a more comprehensive approach to healthcare, taking into account the different ways that women experience drug addiction and recovery.

At MD M.A.T.T., we believe that understanding the unique causes of drug addiction in women is key to providing effective and compassionate care for individuals seeking treatment from us.

Call MD M.A.T.T. for Help with Drug Addiction

If you’re a woman looking to recover from her addiction once and for all, or if you’re worried about a woman in your life who’s struggling with addiction, consider our medical assistance at MD M.A.T.T.

We’re one of the best suboxone detox centers in Maryland. We have a team of qualified suboxone doctors that provides compassionate and tested treatment for all genders and age groups. Contact us at 410.816.9457 to find out more about our affordable services.


  1. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime – Substance Abuse Treatment and Care for Women
  2. WebMD – Understanding Depression