Middle-Aged Women at High Risk for Opioid Addiction

Opioid Crisis – Middle-Aged Women at High Risk for Opioid Addiction

While opioid abuse and the subsequent addiction can affect anyone regardless of their race, gender and their age to an extent, some groups have a higher risk of becoming addicted than others. The risk for opioid addiction in groups such as middle-aged women is higher than in other age groups. The scope of the opioid epidemic can be seen by the promotion of the crisis to a national emergency by President Trump.

The heroin overdose rates for women have tripled from 2010 to 2013, according to the report by the American Society of Addiction Medicine. Prescription opioid abuse statistics showed that the overdose deaths directly related to opioid pain relievers from 1999 to 2010 saw an increase of 400% among women. By looking at the prescription opioid abuse statistics for overdose deaths in the same time period, there was only an increase of 237% among men.

Why are women seemingly more at risk for opioid addiction? In this article, we will look at the reasons why women, especially middle-aged women, are more affected by the opioid crisis.

Growing Trend of Opioid Abuse in Middle-Aged Women

A recent study conducted by The United States for Non-Dependence, the risk for opioid addiction in women who have gone through surgery was 40% higher than in men. The reason behind the prescription opioid dependence being higher in women than men can be due to several reasons.

Firstly, women between the ages of 40 to 59 are prescribed more prescription pain killers than any other group. This age group also has the highest overdose death rate. While patients are meant to be told what the risk for opioid addiction is when they are given their prescription for chronic or severe pain, few understand just how addictive and dangerous the substance is. Women tend to feel the same level of pain more intensely than men do, which why they are more likely to be given a powerful pain-killer such as opioids.

It is easy for a person who experiences chronic pain to take a few more opioids than they are meant to. Such a situation quickly leads to dependence due to drastic changes that the brain can go through.

Other studies show that while men are more likely to abuse most drugs, women tend to develop an addiction faster than men do. In a situation where the drug being used is a highly addictive substance, it is easier for a women fall victim to an addiction.

According to NIDA, women are often more likely to use prescription opioids without a prescription in order to cope with the intense pain they may have. This is true even in situations where there is the same level of pain experienced in men and women.

Apart from the usual reasons to use opioids such as for chronic pain, women have been found to be more likely to use opioids as a way to treat anxiety and depression in themselves. Prescription opioid dependence can form very quickly in such situations, especially since women form addictions faster than men do. Using a substance as a short-term coping strategy only leads to long term problems such as addiction, and the anxiety or other mental issues they have are never properly dealt with.

To find help for an addiction to opioids, contact the WhiteSands Treatment Centers nowat (877) 855-3470.

Sources:

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/substance-use-in-women/sex-gender-differences-in-substance-use

https://www.asam.org/docs/default-source/advocacy/opioid-addiction-disease-facts-figures.pdf

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.