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How Cultural Expectations for Femininity Influence Drug Use

How Cultural Expectations for Femininity Influence Drug UseOver time, culture has set the expectations and boundaries for what is the acceptable behavior and appearance of women. The media portrays a feminine woman as being playful, proper, and physically thin. Models and celebrities in the media reinforce this thin ideal, and can encourage women to use drugs as a means of obtaining their ideal weight. When these characteristics seem far from obtainable, some women resort to the use of drugs to help obtain them. With the abuse of these drugs comes the risk of addiction and dependence.

Femininity and Alcohol

Fortunately, culture’s expectations of women do not necessarily condone the abuse of alcohol. Many women may drink alcohol as a means to be more comfortable in a social setting. However, our culture does not consider intoxication to be appealing for women. A woman is expected to drink conservatively and maintain her composure when drinking. Culture also sets a standard for what is acceptable for a woman to drink. In the media, a feminine woman is one who drinks wine or cocktails instead of beer or shots.

Drugs for Weight Loss

One of the main physical aspects of femininity, as determined by culture, is to be excessively thin. This notion is fueled by today’s sports and celebrity icons and the media. Many women try to fit this idealistic picture through dieting and exercise. The NPD group is a leading global information company that reports that one in every five people was on a diet at any given week in 2012. Unfortunately, when these women do not see results fast enough, some of them resort to abusing medications that aid in weight loss.

Diet pills are available both over the counter and by prescription. While not all diet pills are necessarily dangerous, they can be if taken improperly. One of the main dangers of these pills is the risk of addiction, which is particularly high in diet pills that contain stimulants such as caffeine, amphetamines, and ephedrine. Excessive use of these medications may interfere with the body’s normal metabolism, causing physical effects that include the following:

  • Unstable weight
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Heart palpitations
  • Disturbances in sexual drive
  • Dizziness

Many women may even illicitly obtain ADHD medications such as Ritalin or Adderall for their weight loss effects. These medications are amphetamines and are classified by the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) as a Schedule II drug. This means that they have a high potential for abuse and dependency. Addiction to this drug causes both physical and psychological effects that can be very unpleasant. Some of the undesirable effects of amphetamine abuse include the following:

  • Paranoia
  • Aggressiveness
  • Cardiovascular system failure
  • Blurred vision
  • Amphetamine caused psychosis

Amphetamines can be very easy to obtain by prescription, and are therefore highly circulated in organizations and college campuses. The abuse of these drugs for weight loss is particularly high in the college setting, at an age when femininity is idealized.

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For those suffering from addiction, treatment and recovery can seem impossible. However, by utilizing available resources, addicts can reclaim their lives from drug or alcohol addiction. Please call our toll free number today. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you might have about addiction treatment.

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