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Single Mothers & Addiction

Single Mothers & Addiction

Many factors contribute to the rise of single mothers in the United States, like evolving social norms that accept the concept of a single motherhood lifestyle. In 2020, there were nearly 16 million single-mother households.1 The numbers are shocking, especially since they seem to have doubled over the past fifty years. Mothers are expected to upkeep their houses and help raise their children in significant ways to better their lives and the future of society. The pressure of being a mother is already heavy with a partner, let alone without one.  

Despite the social challenges, single mothers must maintain their children's home and well-being and financially support their lives. Unfortunately, due to this enormous responsibility, it’s common for single mothers to turn to substance abuse. Keep reading better to understand the reasoning behind single mothers and addiction.  

Psychological Effects of Being a Single Mother 

As mentioned, the role of a single mother comes with societal pressure, although it's becoming less frowned upon since it’s a more common occurrence in America. Still, mothers will handle intense conditions, emotionally and mentally, due to their added responsibilities. For one, single moms rarely get the proper amount of sleep needed for the brain and body to rejuvenate. Lack of sleep raises cortisol levels, spiking stress hormones, disrupting the immune system, and may result in sudden mood swings.  

Mothers also are psychologically tested due to factors such as:  

  • Low self-esteem 
  • History of abuse   
  • Financial insecurity 
  • Inadequate self-care 
  • Dating struggles or problems with an ex 
  • Judgmental people or weak support systems 
  • Struggling to support a child with special needs  

Men are more likely to abuse illicit drugs. Still, women, especially single mothers, tend to misuse substances such as certain stimulants like cocaine or Adderall or depressants like Xanax and Vicodin, which are classified as opioids or painkillers. These medications are often mixed with alcohol which is extremely dangerous since this worsens the adverse side effects of both alcohol and the consumed drug.   

Women are more likely to form an addiction to alcohol than men since women hold less water, acquire more fat in the body, and have lower levels of enzymes that break down the alcohol in the body’s system. Alcohol addiction treatment is urgently recommended, especially if other drugs interact with the substance, to avoid alcohol poisoning and behavioral changes and to create a positive lifestyle at home.  

Mothers of Addicts 

According to single mother statistics, addict mothers inflict substance abuse disorder (SUD) on their children. Research indicates that children with a drug addict mom are found to be of lower socioeconomic status and have more difficulties in academic and social functioning.2 The report concludes that these children who experience single mothers and addiction stand at higher rates of mental and behavioral disorders as well as developing SUD symptoms.   

Combined 2009-2014 research, NSDUH data displayed an annual average of 8.7 million children aged 17 or younger living in a one-parent household developed SUD.2 Again, the numbers have continued to increase since the late 1980s and significantly since the start of the 2000s. Children and teenagers are more likely to turn to socially acceptable drugs like nicotine, marijuana, and alcohol before experimenting with prescription pills or illicit substances like heroin.   

Medical Detox at the Heartland Recovery Center 

At Banyan Treatment Centers Heartland, we offer a medically monitored drug detox for single mothers, teenagers, and older adults from all walks of life, so they can safely be guided through withdrawal symptoms. We offer successful counseling for families in order to mend relationships and practice communication and relapse prevention skills. Our team of experts will work with you and design a treatment plan that fits your recovery goals while providing the options for the flexibility you need.  

Speak to a specialist at Banyan Heartland by calling 888-280-4763 now! Don’t wait to better your life by attending our residential treatment program or seeing our other services, and begin today! 



  1. Statista-https://www.statista.com/statistics/205000/number-of-families-with-a-single-mother-in-the-us/ 
  1. SAMHSA - https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/report_3223/ShortReport-3223.html 


Related Readings:  

16 Reasons to Stop Drinking 

Women and Addiction: Are Women Critiqued More Harshly than Men?  

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.