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Why Women Don’t Seek Addiction Treatment

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When it comes to substance abuse treatment, women may actually be less likely to get help for their drug addiction or alcoholism than men are. Drug addiction and alcoholism is a disease that can affect anyone, any age, and any social background. If this is true, then what is blocking women from taking the same opportunity as men for substance abuse treatment?

When Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) first started back in the early 1930’s, men were the predominant members of the group. Over the years, more and more woman have sought help for their alcoholism and drug addiction, but there is still room to grow. In the 2011 membership survey conducted by Alcoholics Anonymous, only 35% of members are women; 65% are men.

Women’s Treatment Programs

Women face different challenges when it comes to substance abuse and getting help. Physically, the disease of addiction will progress a lot faster in women than men. Many women start drinking and using to cope with issues that sometimes are very different than men. Lack of self-esteem, sexual abuse or assault, and peer pressure can create a toxic formula for drug addiction. In today’s society the stigma is slowly starting to filter out when it comes to seeking help for drug abuse and alcohol problems but women are still holding back from getting the help they deserve.

Many women claim they can’t seek help because of fear of what their friends and families will think of them, how their job will react, and their inability to accept that they can’t control this thing anymore. Many women don’t seek treatment because of their dependence on others; we hear things like, “I can’t leave my kids”, “I can’t abandon my husband, he needs me”, and “I can’t leave my boyfriend, he is all I have”, “But, I have school/job/an important social gathering”. Stop! None of these excuses are good enough in light of the havoc alcoholism and drug addiction causes. If you are giving these excuses or if you know someone who is giving these excuses, it’s these exact things that will block off recovery and potentially cause death before these women even seek treatment.

The alcoholic and addict is a great rationalizer, giving any number of excuses as to why they cannot get clean and sober. These excuses are usually fear based. When an addict is using, they cannot be there for their kids, family, friends, or even be able to show up at the special social gathering. Even if they are present physically, if the disease has progressed far enough, they are not there emotionally and mentally anyhow. There will never be a “good time” to get help from drug and alcohol addiction; there will always be something that will be used to block off the idea of rehab. If you are a woman, or if you know any women, who are struggling to keep their head above water in addiction, get the help that is deserved. The time for a change is now; help pave the way for other women to seek treatment for their addiction, too. The journey of hope starts with you.

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