According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, more than 4 million women use drugs today in America. In the past year alone, 9 million women used drugs illegally and another 50% of all women between the ages of 15 to 44 will try drugs at least once in their lifetime. These troubling numbers are compounded by the fact that many instances of women and drug abuse go unreported. Many women suffer from their drug abuse and addictions silently, secretly hiding their problem from friends and family.

Finding help, therefore, can be a difficult task for women who abuse drugs. Admitting that they have a problem is often difficult particularly when friends and family are unaware of the drug use. Women may deny drug abuse out of fear and shame that their family will be taken away from them if they appear to be unfit caretakers, a stigma associated with women and drug abuse.

Often, women who use drugs have underlying problems which not only exasperate their drug abuse, but are the root cause of it. Women may seek the use of drugs as self-medication for depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders. In fact, the link between drug abuse and mental disorders often go hand in hand, complicating the diagnosis and treatment. A special method called dual diagnosis is therefore necessary to assess patients with co-occurring disorders.

Though every rehabilitation program may claim to offer dual diagnosis, only a few have licensed practitioners who specialize in it. Individuals seeking treatment for drug and/or alcohol abuse can find more information at