Despite the fact that just as many women suffer from severe substance dependency disorders as men, the amount of women in recovery pales in comparison to the amount of men in recovery. In fact, only roughly 25% of all American citizens currently seeking treatment for addiction or alcoholism are women. Why is it that a major fraction of the women who are in desperate need of some sort of significant outside help do not seek the support they so require? There are several reasons behind this unfortunate statistic. One of the most prevalent reasons is the fact that women tend to take on the role of the caretaker, a role that is influenced and enforced by societal pressures and by long-standing cultural institutions. In many cases, women who struggle with addictive disorders will neglect to acknowledge or consider treating their own disorders due to an overwhelming and unspoken pressure to stay at home and take care of their families. This is especially true of single mothers.
Women Often Struggle With Reaching Out For Help Due to Societal Standards
Interestingly enough, many women fail to come forward and actively seek help for substance dependency issues because of outdated social stigmas that are still intact in certain parts of the country. When Alcoholics Anonymous was first founded, it was exclusively accessible to middle-aged, white males, and it wasn’t until several years after its initial institutionalization that a female member was even considered. Some individuals still cling to the invalid ideals that addiction is a ‘male disease’, and that women should not or do not suffer from it. While this mentality is rare, it is still in existence. Additionally, women tend to go to great lengths to make sure that their outward appearances are upheld – at work, in the community, and at home. Because they often take on the role of the ‘mother’ and ‘housewife’, they attempt to make sure that the outside world believes in their ability to efficiently maintain these roles. While it is true that men hide their substance abuse disorders in attempts to avoid portraying any sort of potentially perceived weakness, the same is very true of women.
If You Are a Substance Dependent Woman, There is Help Available
It is important to understand that addiction is a completely non-discriminatory disease. Those who suffer from addiction range in age, gender, social class, and personal background. Women are just as likely to develop severe and life-threatening substance dependency disorders as men – in fact, they are actually more likely. It has been proven that the majority of women in treatment for addiction and co-occurring disorders have experienced some form of significant sexual or emotional trauma. Women are exceedingly more likely to undergo sexual trauma than men. Women are also more likely to experience severe PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) as a result of significant trauma, leading, in many cases, to severe substance abuse and eventual addiction. If you are a woman who has been struggling with addiction, there is absolutely no shame in taking the steps necessary to ensure receiving the outside help you both need and deserve. While you may feel obligated to stay at home and tend to your family, keep in mind that receiving the treatment you need now will make you more available down the road. You may physically be there now, but your emotional availability is surely compromised.
For more information on female-specific addiction recovery, please call Willow Place today. We are here to help you set the ball in motion, and ease you into the beautiful, lifelong journey of spiritual, mental, and emotional recovery.