Both men and women undergo devastating emotional and physical effects of addiction to alcohol or drugs. But, some studies have shown that women particularly face some obstacles and barriers in dealing with addiction, seeking therapy and receiving effective treatment to assist them in overcoming the addiction issue. Below are a few of the unique challenges that women face in rehabilitation.
Many of the women who decide to go to rehab are at a disadvantage from the start. Studies have shown that women who become addicted to drugs or alcohol tend to have lower socioeconomic status and lower education levels. They often seek treatment after referral by the courts or by friends, family or co-workers. On the other hand, many men are referred to rehab centers by employers, doctors or even the legal system.
A lot of women also treat drug addiction as a problem associated with stress and assume that it is going to go away without needing treatment. Women usually have more responsibilities in their families in raising children and so might believe that they can’t leave their loved ones for a very long time to seek out treatment or may be in denial about just how severe their dependence problem is. Women who are addicted to drugs or alcohol often have anxiety and depression that cause them to keep off treatment or may have experienced some emotional, physical or sexual abuse that causes feelings of trauma and shame.
There’s still a great deal of stigma that’s attached to girls who abuse drugs or alcohol especially girls who have children or who are not pregnant. Without the help to take care of their kids, family and work obligations during rehabilitation and recovery, women are most times discouraged from looking for treatment. The societal shame and possible disapproval from relatives, friends, co-workers, and companies are enough to maintain lots of them from therapy completely, and also the fear of losing the custody of the children is just another demotivator.
Other women might be intimidated by other obstacles from the treatment facilities themselves. For instance, a woman who experienced emotional, physical or sexual abuse from a man may be afraid of the idea of seeking treatment from centers where men work. Since women might have major responsibilities for childcare and might also be working or do not have insurance coverage, treatment facilities may not be possible due to financial reasons.
Luckily, there are treatment centers that recognize that women’s needs are different from men’s needs and it may be beneficial to have a program which is specifically designed to overcome these barriers and help them find treatment. Several centers provide programs that focus on assisting women to deal with addiction.