With March being recognised as Women's History Month worldwide, this is a great opportunity to think about the lengthy and winding path women have taken to get where they are today. Substance misuse challenges is just one of many areas where women have been mainly overlooked throughout history.
Historically, substance use disorder was believed to affect only males; therefore, discussing it openly as a woman was considered taboo. Women were excluded from studies and research for a considerable amount of time, requiring them to overcome the stigma associated with discussing substance use disorder, in order to be included alongside males in research.
However, many courageous female figures have spoken out about their own experiences and normalised the connection between women and substance misuse. Some of the women who have contributed to the current recovery process include Betty Ford, Marty Mann, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Stephanie Brown.
An individual's unique set of experiences and circumstances interact in complex ways to increase the risk of developing a substance use disorder. Women may be more susceptible to developing a substance use disorder, depending on the substance.
In recognition of the transformative power of women everywhere, please consider getting help for yourself or a significant woman in your life.