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Originally Posted on Hannah’s House by Origins

Of all the barriers to addiction treatment faced by women, trauma may be one of the most significant. Women suffering from traumatic experiences and living with a substance use disorder may refuse treatment for a variety of reasons and inevitably delay the recovery they need to sustain healthy and happy lives. Today, let’s look at the effects of trauma on addiction and what steps women can take to address the issue of trauma during treatment for addiction.

Trauma is a significant factor in women not seeking treatment for addiction. Women suffering past or ongoing trauma by men may see addiction treatment as undesirable if it involves receiving services from male professionals and having to interact with men in recovery in the same program. Women with addiction and history of physical or sexual trauma can seek treatment from service providers offering trauma therapies and psychological services in addition to addiction treatment in safe, gender-specific settings.

What are common treatment barriers?

Before we step into trauma as a barrier, let’s list some of the other barriers that could be perceived as getting “in the way” of beginning treatment for addiction.

Attitude: I don’t know how to find substance abuse treatment.
Response: Finding treatment resources can come in a variety of ways, including asking a doctor or doing an online search of treatment providers in your area.
Attitude: Treatment takes a lot of time.
Response: Without knowing the severity of your addiction and the program best suited for you, there is no defined amount of time connected to your recovery. The options of inpatient and outpatient programs are always available and differ in length.
Attitude: I have too many responsibilities with work and the kids to start treatment.
Response: Your job and your role as a mother are already severely affected by your substance use. Your ability to successfully maintain a job and raise your children will come from facing addiction with the necessary support you need for recovery.
Attitude: I can’t afford treatment.
Response: If you’re insured, checking what your plan covers is a start. Also, your carrier will be able to help you determine what your plan covers regarding addiction treatment. An admissions specialist at a treatment center can advise you on self-funding options to consider as well.

How does trauma become a barrier to addiction treatment?

Traumatic experiences can become a barrier when a woman who would benefit from treatment refuses to consider a program due to past or ongoing trauma. She may fear seeking help in recovery could create more conflict with a live-in partner or spouse, especially if that person is also addicted. She may resist the idea of receiving treatment in an environment where men are also being treated or having male professionals as part of her treatment team.

Is gender-specific treatment available for women?

For women with trauma connected to the men in their lives, finding a treatment center offering recovery programs for women and exclusively staffed by women is an option. In these programs, all aspects of treatment are designed specifically to meet the needs of women in recovery, including addressing body-image and self-harm issues that have influenced drug and alcohol abuse repeatedly. Also, the social connection with other women who have experienced many of the same challenges with addiction and with issues specific to being a woman becomes another supportive element of this kind of treatment environment.

How should substance use treatment address trauma?

Treatment that addresses trauma, and other factors influencing a woman’s history of substance use, recognizes effective recovery involves a comprehensive strategy. In these settings, trauma therapies are an integral part of treatment services and get combined with medical and detox services, psychological services, a 12-Step experience, family programming, and more. A woman who’s been relapsing can receive treatment for both her addiction and dual diagnoses of trauma at the same time as she begins her journey to recovery.

Hannah’s House is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance use, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renown clinical care for addiction and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting sobriety. For information on our programs, call us today: 844.320.2302.