Health – Getting Started & Next Steps

The Major Challenges Women Face in Overcoming Addiction

Both women and men go through devastating emotional and physical consequences of addiction to drugs or alcohol. However, some studies have revealed that women in particular face some barriers and hurdles in dealing with addiction, seeking treatment and getting effective treatment to help them in overcoming the addiction problem. Below are some of the special challenges that women face in rehab.

Many of the women who decide to go to rehab are at a disadvantage from the start. Some studies have shown that women who become addicted to alcohol or drugs tend to have lower socioeconomic status and lower schooling levels. They frequently look for treatment after referral from the judges or friends, family or co-workers. On the other hand, most men are referred to rehabilitation centers by employers, doctors or the legal system.

Many women also treat drug addiction as an issue related to stress and assume that it will go away without seeking 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 alcohol or drugs frequently have depression and anxiety that make them maintain off treatment or might have undergone some emotional, sexual or physical abuse which leads to feelings of shame and trauma.

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 social shame and potential disapproval from friends, relatives, co-workers, and employers are enough to keep lots of them from treatment completely, and also the fear of losing the custody of the kids is 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 may have significant responsibilities for childcare and may also be working or don’t have insurance coverage; treatment facilities might not be possible because of financial factors.

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. Many centers offer programs that focus on assisting women to deal with addiction.