Moms, Mental Health, and Addiction

July marks Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, and even though you may not think of women as a minority group, women do experience social inequalities related to men. Women, particularly moms, are at risk of developing certain mental health disorders as well as addiction. Read on to learn about the risks that mothers face for developing mental health challenges, how the culture of drinking can contribute to substance use disorders and ways to treat co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders.

Moms and Mental Health Disorders

If you are a middle-aged woman struggling with mental health or substance use challenges, you are not alone. In fact, middle-aged mothers between the age of 41 and 57 are dealing with issues that can contribute to the development of certain mental health disorders. Middle-aged individuals, in general, are at an increased risk of developing mental health disorders due to psychological, genetic, and other changes that occur during this period of time. Women in this age group experience greater age-related challenges than men due to additional factors such as the experience of menopause and infertility.

Menopause can influence the way a woman sees herself and can have a negative impact on self-esteem due to the psychological and physical changes that can occur as a result.1 Research shows that common mental health disorders include:1

  • Anxiety and other mood disorders.
  • Stress.
  • Depression.

Mom Drinking Culture

There is no denying that motherhood can be stressful. Just when you think you can relax or take a moment for yourself, someone in the family needs you for something. As a result of the demands of motherhood, society has started to adopt the “mommy wine culture” message. This message essentially normalizes the use of wine to help moms cope with the challenges of day-to-day parenthood. However, this coping method may mask an alcohol use disorder (AUD).

A bottle of wine is roughly 4 glasses of wine. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you avoid consuming alcohol. However, if you do decide to partake, the CDC recommends that women drink, at most, 1 alcoholic beverage on a single occasion.2

Limiting alcohol consumption is encouraged due to the risks associated with alcohol use. The more alcohol you consume, the more at risk you are for developing various disorders such as cancer, increased blood pressure, and other long-term health problems.2 That’s why heavy alcohol consumption, including binge drinking, is not recommended.

Dangers of Binge Drinking

For women, binge drinking is defined as consuming 4 or more drinks in one sitting. For men, it’s 5 or more drinks.3 Binge drinking can have devastating short- and long-term consequences. The risk associated with binge drinking can include:3

  • Experiencing violence (domestic violence, assault).
  • Risky sexual behaviors can result in unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Injuries due to car accidents and falls.
  • Chronic health problems (heart disease, hypertension, cancer).
  • Cognitive and memory problems.
  • Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (binge drinking while pregnant).
  • Alcohol poisoning.

Co-Occurring Disorders

Nearly 50% of people who struggle with a substance use disorder (SUD) also have a mental illness; this is referred to as co-occurring disorder.4 Many mental health disorders occur alongside a SUD. Common mental health disorders that exist with SUDs include:4

  • Depression.
  • Anxiety.
  • Personality disorders.
  • Schziphrenia.
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Co-occurring disorders are treatable. Co-occurring disorders should be treated simultaneously, and your treatment plan needs to include interventions specific to you and address your unique factors, such as medical history, symptoms, and diagnosis.4

Mississippi Rehab for Alcohol & Drug Addiction

If you are struggling with addiction and looking for rehab in Mississippi, Oxford Treatment Center can help. You can call to speak to an admissions navigator or start the admissions process online by verifying your insurance coverage. You deserve a high quality of life. Get the help you need today.

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