This paper deals with gender stereotypes and cognitive processes and attitudes of individuals on the basis of gender through discourse analysis of women consumers of legal and illegal drugs. The objective of the research is to improve understanding of the dynamics that promote substance abuse among women in order to face them.
The problem is approached from an anthropological perspective, where a qualitative methodology is used through surveys and life stories of women admitted to a Hospital Detoxification Unit. Women participating form a heterogeneous group, in substances consumed and in age. The materials reflect that women elaborate a speech from the gender perspective that contributes to consumption and possible relapse after detoxification attempts.
The results show gender stereotypes regarding to consumption patterns and poly-risk behaviors. We found a female speech expressing gender patterns that affect their social world and demonstrate a set of beliefs causing problems in everyday life that interfere their detoxification process and delay or impede them to stop drug consumption.
Our conclusions are that gender patterns influence women at the start of drug use as well as maintenance. The treatment of addicted woman must go beyond the current stereotypes through an approach in which each addicted woman learns to worry about the relationship with herself in the same way that she has worried about relationship with others. It is essential to get a therapeutic work to create new patterns of interpersonal relationships that does not fit the cultural gender stereotypes based on submission.