02 Apr What Keeps Women From Seeking Addiction Treatment

It’s surprising, and unsettling to say the least, to consider just how few addicts actually seek treatment for their addictions. As mentioned in last month’s post about what keeps men from seeking addiction treatment, only about 1 in 10 of those struggling with addiction actually receive treatment, and of those who don’t receive treatment, about 95% feel that they don’t need any help. Men tend to be less likely than women to ask for help for their addictions, but that doesn’t mean that the situation for female addicts is much better than that of male addicts. Here are some of the main things keeping women from seeking treatment for their drug or alcohol addictions.

Social Stigma

One common misconception surrounding rehab is the notion that it is a mostly-male environment. However, national studies confirm that women make up about one-third of addicts admitted to treatment facilities. Many women who avoid seeking treatment for their addictions feel that they are entering a realm dominated by males and fear the social stigma associated with being in the minority. If you are a female battling addiction and this fear applies to you, keep in mind that you are in good company. Moreover, there are programs dedicated to helping women in particular overcome their addictions and the unique struggles associated with addiction in women.

Competing Responsibilities

Women often let domestic responsibilities like caring for children and cooking distract them from—or take priority over—battling their addictions, and this can cause many not to receive the treatment they need altogether. Guilt can even enter the picture for women considering entering rehab, as some women fear that taking personal time to receive addiction treatment is selfish. The truth is, however, that getting the treatment you need is the very best thing that you can do for you and your family. When addiction no longer takes a central role in your life, you’ll be more prepared and more well-equipped to care for family members, make time for others, and serve those in your community.

Unhealthy Relationships

Sometimes a romantic relationship involving another user can keep a woman in need of treatment from facing her addiction head-on. And with men being even less likely than women to seek treatment, this only compounds the issue of unhealthy romantic relationships for women. Fear of treatment causing a disconnect or of the relationship dissolving upon seeking treatment can be crippling, and the influence of someone you’re romantically involved with can be stronger than even personal will. If you sense that a relationship with another user might be distracting you from addressing your addiction, or keeping you from seeking the treatment you need, then it’s time to reconsider whether this relationship is something you should be keeping as a part of your life.

Ally Keenan is a University of Utah graduate and currently works as a Clinical Social Worker and Substance Use Disorder Counselor. Ally started her career in 2009 working in adolescent residential treatment as an assistant program director. Since 2010, she has worked as a clinician with individuals suffering from addictions, chemical dependency, and co-occurring mental health disorders in both the Intensive Outpatient and Residential treatment capacities. Ally currently serves on the board as vice-president of the non-profit foundation Recovery Outreach; a 501(c)(3) organization created to help fund treatment for individuals suffering from addiction and lacking the financial resources to afford it. In 2010, she took the opportunity to incorporate her passion for animals, and their powerful healing nature, into her work through the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA). She truly enjoys facilitating Equine Psychotherapy, and life-skills sessions, as a form of experiential therapy.

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