Women and Prescription Pills

Posted by on May 17, 2013 in Prescription Drugs, Women |

Women and Prescription Pills

Women and prescription pills is a growing problem in America. Surveys, such as the 2010 Survey on Drug Use and Health, estimate that 2.4 million Americans abused prescription pills for the first time last year, and over half of them were female. This means that about 800,000 adult women began abusing prescription pills in the past year alone.

Women and Prescription Pills: Why do women abuse prescription pills?

Women are more likely to ask for and receive prescriptions for narcotic medications, and they have more access to prescribers. One possible reason is that women are more inclined to voice their concerns to a medical professional than men, and therefore are more likely to receive a prescription. While the initial complaint may be valid, prescription drugs can be incredibly habit forming. Many of the women who turn become addicted to prescription medication would never turn to illicit drugs or alcohol as a means of coping. However, because prescription drugs come from a medical professional, it is easier for them to use them, even misuse them, while still believing that they don’t have a problem.

Women and Prescription Pills: Underlying mental health problems

Women who misuse prescription medication are more likely to be victims of physical and sexual abuse or have a history of psychiatric problems.  Women who are being treated for pain not caused by cancer and who exhibit signs of stress, should be treated for mood disorders and counseled about the danger of relying on prescription drugs.

Women and Prescription Pills: What kind of pills are women abusing?

Stimulant and amphetamine use among adolescent girls is 60-70 percent higher than it is among boys. This includes medications prescribed for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) like Adderall. Girls and women take these medications to improve cognitive performance and to lose weight. Older women are not immune to the purported benefits of these types of drugs. Women in their 30’s and 40’s turn to these drugs for similar reasons-to get through their to-do lists and to lose those extra pounds. Some feel that many women turn to prescription pills in an attempt to live up to unrealistic societal obligations.

Abuse of pain medications has also significantly increased among girls and women. Adolescents girls are more likely than boys to abuse prescription pain pills like Vicodin and OxyContin. The abuse of painkillers is seen among older women as well.

Between 2005  and 2009, emergency room visits for attempted overdoses by women age 50 and older taking prescriptions for anxiety or insomnia rose 56%, and ER visits for women taking prescription pain relievers rose 30% during that same time period.

Women and Prescription Pills: Barriers to treatment

When women do abuse prescription drugs and become addicted, they are less likely than men to seek treatment. Some think that this is because the social stigma is more negative regarding woman than it is for men. Women are also more likely to convince themselves that they don’t have a problem with prescription drugs because the drugs were prescribed by a doctor. This can delay them asking for help.






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