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Women’s Addiction in All Its Manifestations Analysis Essay

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Updated: Aug 23rd, 2022


Addictions affecting women are the result of processes and substances . Caused by psychiatric disorders, escaping negative emotions, thrill-seeking, envy, and desire to protest against capitalism and grab media attention, the named process addictions effects are loss of money, dissatisfied husbands, and danger to reputation. Caused by heredity, thrill-seeking, improper pulse control, peer emulation, and escaping negative emotions, the named substance addictions effects are marital disharmony, dissatisfied and often disgusted husbands, damaged jobs reputations, the risk to health, and loss of money. Cures should be sought for addiction speedily if the relationship between female addicts and their families are to be resurrected and resumed. Bad habits should not be allowed to degenerate into addictions.


Addictions can be classified into two groups: Process Addiction and Substance Addiction. Process Addiction is caused by chemicals discharged into the brain to get the feeling of ‘high,’ whereas Substance Addiction involves the use of external substances to generate feelings of excessive well-being or elation {‘high’}. The addictions in the former group that commonly claim women are Shoplifting Addiction, Compulsive Shopping Addiction, and Compulsive Gambling Addiction. In the Substance Addiction category, women usually indulge in Food, Alcohol, and Drugs in that order of priority; however, addiction of women to alcohol and drugs is more prevalent in Western countries than elsewhere.

Shoplifting Addiction

Shoplifting is the only crime that many people will agree to have committed at least once in their lives. It starts as a romantic, spontaneous action but soon turns into a focus of relief from problems in life (Shulman, 2004, p.52). Women, more than men, tend to engage in shoplifting. The term ‘shoplifting’ was invented around the year 2000 to mark the difference between theft of food by poor people and the new, rapidly spreading instances of middle-class women who were stealing from departmental stores in the U.S. The first cause is women using it as an excuse to take their minds off personal problems or emotional stresses in life (Shulman, 2004, p.87) or to act out suppressed sexual urges which affect their natural tendency to value affiliation .

It is no wonder therefore that shoplifting in the U.S during the 196s was very high as the culprits were single, divorcees, or widows. Women become addicted to the rush of adrenaline afforded by shoplifting (Shulman, 2004, p.84). Some women do it not because they like it but purely for financial gain. Shoplifting enables lower-class women to attain quick access to high-class status. Some women consider their illegal activity as a form of protest, an implement of disapproval in and of itself against capitalism. Shoplifting is often used to grab media attention. For example, actress Winona Ryder’s recently widely publicized shoplifting charges got her a profitable advertising contract and a lucrative television show appearance. The first effect is disharmony in the family. The illegal activities of the shoplifting addict become a constant source of accusations by the parents or husband and quarrels between the couple. There are realistic chances of the shoplifting addict being caught, arrested, and even incarcerated; the shame associated with shoplifting is great (Shulman, 2004, p.78). In case her husband has a high-profile job adverse publicity could end his career, and lead to separation or divorce between the couple.

Compulsive Shopping Addiction

Shopping in moderation is a beneficial, even therapeutic exercise that can combat tension in daily life. However, compulsive shopping addiction , is an obsession with shopping for unnecessary items, and there is a lack of mental ability to resist purchasing such items. It is estimated that 8% of the U.S population, a majority of them being women, suffer from this disorder. The main cause is biological. CSD is an Impulse Control Disorder that is prevalent among regular sufferers of depression. It provides mental escape, gives a heady feeling of power, assists in getting an interest in the external world, and provides a sense of personal esteem that is lacking.

A woman who has bad personal experiences or a vacuum in personal relationships frequently goes on wild shopping sprees as a way of exercising her prerogative and assuming charge, resulting in feelings of self-esteem and joy. The first effect is the wastage of money. If the addict is married, it creates a dent in the family finances and her husband is bound to be angry and accusing. As the addict alternates between extreme emotions, her husband finds it difficult to understand and cope with her erratic behavior pattern. Some addicts take extreme steps to feed their addiction such as stealing or borrowing money from others and raise debts.

Compulsive Gambling Addiction

Compulsive gambling addiction, often called a ‘hidden illness’ because it is not outwardly visible, is the strong desire to gamble, while ignoring its harmful negative effects or the addict’s personal wishes to cease the activity. There are 2 types of compulsive gambling: action gambling and escape gambling. Research has discovered that men usually indulge in the former while women prefer the latter. The main cause of escape gambling in women is to shut out disconcerting problems and/or feelings of dysphoria such as remorse, nervousness, agitation, gloom, inadequacy, and helplessness. The act of gambling is subordinate to the numbing impact of the act. The first effect is a drain on the finances of the addict and her family. The second effect is that the female addict’s behavior jeopardizes her relationship with her family members and particularly her husband.

Food Addiction

Food addiction or binge eating involves uncontrolled consumption of an excessive amount of food in larger amounts than other people at identical periods, and in identical circumstances (Fairburn & Wilson, 1996, p.8). This is followed by feelings of remorse, guilt, and frustration for eating so much. Research has found that there are nearly 4 million food addicts in the U.S. Women are more likely than men to indulge in food addiction (Fairburn & Wilson, 1996, p.147). The first cause is the presence of negative feelings like depression, sadness, anger, and nervousness.

Some women feel greater self-consciousness, lesser body esteem, and lesser self-esteem (Fairburn & Wilson, 1996, p.159). This is especially in the case of girls who mature early; they are generally shorter and fatter and these traits in physical structure continue as they grow into mature women (Fairburn & Wilson, 1996, p.161). As binge eating is always followed by increased anxiety over body-weight revealed by the wish to go on diet (Fairburn & Wilson, 1996, p.61), it affects husbands of food addicts who find it difficult to cope with the unstable behavior of their wives; it could give rise to feelings of increasing disgust that could hamper their otherwise normal behavior and sexual intimacy towards their food addicted wives.

Alcohol Addiction

Drinking alcohol is not bad in itself. Once alcohol usage crosses the limit of moderation and becomes a vital daily need, the person is said to have slipped into the chasm of alcohol addiction.

The first cause is genetic. Alcohol addiction is inherited from parents or grandparents and addicts commonly believe they can drink more than others. Some women excessively imbibe alcohol up to a point where drinking ceases to become a choice. Others desire to achieve the ‘good feeling’ but struggle with delayed gratification. The first effect is that women cannot discharge their proper role in the family because their drinking habits drag them into a cycle where their inability to fulfill their family obligations coupled with the disapproval of their addiction, are often employed as justification to drink even more. It is estimated that the odds of Adult Children of Alcoholics – male and female – becoming alcohol addicts themselves is four times greater than normal children. Children of female alcohol addicts risk being born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome that has been identified as one of the three most widespread causes of birth deficiencies. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence reports that nearly 5,000 children are born with acute damages due to FAS each year in the U.S while a further 35,000 are born with milder forms of FAS.

Drug Addiction

Drug abuse entails constant and excessive usage of drugs to create feelings of happiness and blot out reality despite its well-known harmful effects. Drug abuse turns into drug addiction when the drug ceases to exist as a choice and turns into an essential need. The first cause is to seek relief from mental illnesses. The National Alliance on Mental Illness reported that over 50% of drug addicts have depression, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder. Some users are curious to try out a drug and judge if the reportedly ‘high’ feeling is indeed experienced. Weak-minded or peer-adulating users imitate others and use drugs to appear ‘cool’ and ‘one of the group’ (Goldenberg & Goldenberg, 2007, p. 56). Drugs are used to escape from emotional suffering caused by natural calamities . The first effect is a serious dent in family finances. The husband is alienated as she is unable to relax or have fun and alternates between mood swings, angry tirades, and hysterical behavior. Addicts frequently borrow or steal money, sell off household items and prostitute themselves. There are also dangers of damaging the heart, liver, and lungs and contracting diseases like AIDS and hepatitis.


There is no doubt that the various addictions discussed have varying degrees of adverse effects on the lives of women. The only way to alleviate the problem is for the addict to obtain treatment as quickly as possible. The psychological intervention has now become more accessible to people in the U.S as compared to the pre-War days (Goldenberg & Goldenberg, 2007, 101). Addicts should realize that it is not only them that need help but their family members to are hurting and need help (Goldenberg & Goldenberg, 2007, p.20). In the modern, stress-filled world of today, it is nearly impossible to find any individual without a single bad habit. Bad habits have developed into a part and parcel of life. We should not let bad habits mushroom into addictions. Moderation is the key that should always be within our peripheral vision.


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