Clinical Studies Reveal Hormonal Imbalances In Middle-Aged Women During Menopause Can Trigger Addictive And Alcoholic Episodes
Clinical studies have revealed that a hormonal imbalance in middle-aged women can trigger problems with both addiction and alcoholism. ONE80CENTER has experience with middle-aged women who have experienced such addictive episodes during menopause. Our comfortable sober living provides a safe and secure place for these women to find the freedom of recovery and restore the natural balance. Female hormonal imbalances can alter the chemistry of the brain, particularly in terms of mood neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. As a result, hormonal imbalances can trigger self-medication through drugs and alcohol.
In addition, clinical studies have shown that many middle-aged women develop addiction problems because of midlife changes in estrogen and progesterone production. Hormonal imbalances in relation to estrogen and progesterone can destabilize moods, resulting in both anxiety and depression. The brain chemistry altered by these hormonal fluctuations often can be normalized through behavioral modification, medication and natural supplementation. First, however, the addictive episode must be stopped and recovery has to begin.
In the United States, the average age of menopause in women is 51 years old. The decline of female hormones, however, is usually a gradual process with progesterone levels starting to decline approximately eight years prior to that of estrogen. When progesterone production declines at this point, middle-aged women begin to experience numerous problems. The progesterone deficient female experiences sudden anxiety and insomnia that triggers the need for alcohol and prescription medication like Valium and Xanax.
As a result, middle-aged women often will begin to utilize alcohol to relax. Alcohol is legal, does not require a prescription and is socially acceptable. The woman who historically drank only one glass of wine with dinner can quickly progress to two bottles of wine per night. In addition, doctors will readily prescribe such a woman addicting medication like Xanax and Klonopin. The problem of the hormonal imbalance is never addressed and only worsens as the new addictive crutch is used repeatedly.
Another hormonal deficiency that frequently serves as the etiology of alcoholism and drug addiction in middle-aged women is estradiol deficiency. Estradiol enhances serotonin and the ability of serotonin to activate the key mood receptors in the female brain. A proper serotonin balance reduces common symptoms associated with the midlife onset of psychological issues such as depression, anxiety and insomnia in the female gender. Untreated estradiol deficiency can play a pivotal role in causation of new addictive episodes in middle-aged women. If not correctly diagnosed and treated, such women often self-medicate with tranquilizers and alcohol.
In addition, when middle-aged women begin to experience decreased dopamine activity in their pleasure center from diminished estradiol production, they frequently begin to use food, then drugs like prescription opiates like Oxycontin to stimulate dopamine production. Such women often lose their food, drug or alcohol cravings when dopamine activity is normalized. If not treated, these women are more likely to become addicted, chasing dopamine and a normative high.
At ONE80CENTER, we have the experience and the clinical expertise to treat middle-aged women who are experiencing episodes of prescription pill addiction and the sudden onset of alcoholism. By treating both the disease and addressing the physiological changes, our clinical staff can help you restore the balance that is needed to live a happy and successful life.