Single Mom Stress Syndrome and Substance Abuse Risks – When to Consider Getting Help
While not a technical reference, the “single mom stress syndrome” refers to a unique set of stressors that qualifies as a syndrome in its own right. If you or someone you know fills this role, you’re well aware of the endless responsibilities that come with being a single mother.
Enduring this type of hectic lifestyle on a day-in, day-out basis predisposes single moms to unhealthy habits and routines that only work to make a difficult situation more stressful. Not surprisingly, these conditions increase the likelihood of falling prey to substance abuse and the risks that come with this behavior.
According to the Harm Reduction Journal, as of 2012, an estimated 70 percent of women in drug and alcohol rehab programs have children. As with any high-stress lifestyle, it only makes sense to seek out ways to “de-stress” and unwind whenever possible.
Unfortunately, the temporary relief that drugs and alcohol offer can quickly turn into a wrong turn down a bad road. For these reasons, being able to identify substance abuse risks in your daily routine can go a long way towards taking the necessary steps to get needed treatment help.
Single Mom Stress Syndrome
Single moms generally deal with a lot of stress, which can easily lead to self-medicating with substances.
Single moms face a range of challenges not encountered by non-married or non-attached mothers of children. The financial strain necessitates longer work hours and/or multiple jobs. This in turn makes it necessary to find suitable childcare during the extended amounts of time away from home.
Add to this the energy required to stay involved in children’s lives coupled with any feelings of loneliness and worry, and the degree of stress single moms live inside becomes plainly apparent. According to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, these conditions can easily give way to depression considering how a single mom’s responsibilities remain constant from day-to-day.
Stress & Substance Abuse
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, stress is a powerful risk factor (and motivator) when it comes to developing substance abuse problems. While the occasional drink may not pose a substance abuse risk, the marked difference in feeling and mood state “a” drink produces can be just enough to get the ball rolling. The resulting interactions between the addictive properties of alcohol (or drugs) coupled with the brain’s natural tendency to seek out sources of stress relief can quickly evolve into a cycle of substance abuse and eventual addiction when given free reign.
Substance abuse risk factors for single moms have as much to do with a woman’s physical and psychological well-being as it does the level of support she has to fulfill day-to-day obligations. Risk factors typically take the form of:
Destructive lifestyle routines (poor diet, insufficient sleep, lack of exercise)
Feeling incompetent as a parent
Not having available caregivers on hand when mom needs a “time-out”
Feelings of depression or anxiety
In effect, one or more of the above signs not only raises the risk of falling into substance abuse practices, but also increases the likelihood of developing relationship conflicts within a single mom’s everyday life.
If you or someone you know is a single mom who feels overwhelmed much of the time, and have further questions about substance abuse or need help finding treatment programs in your area, please feel free to call our toll-free helpline at 800-481-6320 for more information.
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