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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Les addictions au féminin en progression

by Bruno Vincens

Female Addictions Increasing

Translated Friday 11 June 2010, by Gene Zbikowski and reviewed by Henry Crapo

The experts warn of women’s growing dependence on tobacco and other drugs.

From our correspondent in Toulouse.

Women are smoking more. In the short term, their tobacco consumption should exceed that of men, who are smoking less. While less obvious, women are also drinking more alcoholic beverages. Most importantly, women are the biggest users of psychoactive drugs and anxiolytics. This increase in female addictions also includes the use of illegal drugs.

In Toulouse on June 4, the Network of Health Institutions for the Prevention of Addiction (RESPADD) organized meetings on addiction among adult and teenaged women because female addiction is not very well known. Psychiatrists and doctors have been studying this addictive behavior, which does not follow the same lines as male addictions.

Women who have obtained a degree in higher education use alcohol more than those who have not. This drinking usually does not occur in a convivial party context, but rather in discrete solitude, and it is aimed at calming a worry. There is, however, one exception: group drinking is not unusual among teenage girls.

Women, more than men, consume illicit psychoactive substances as a means of getting accepted by a group. This consumption may also be seen as a form of liberation. Sexual desire is also linked to the consumption of certain products (cocaine, etc.).

Equal amounts of a drug affect women more than men. In addition, drugs result in a delay in the menstrual cycle, blur behavioral limits, and increase the risk of an unwanted pregnancy. As a result, providing information and accompaniment to addicted women is indispensable.

But, at present, most of the cost of anti-smoking treatment is not reimbursed by the French social security system. It is an open question whether public health policy will meet the challenges of the current stress-producing period of economic crisis.

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