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While addiction to substances and alcohol is a disease that affects both sexes, women are likely to be affected differently to men.

Most women progress faster into addiction than men, they face different barriers to gaining support, they recover differently due to other responsibilities.

Recognising these barriers and supporting women through these differences can be a critical time and there is a need to determine the most effective treatment or with the need to determine the most effective treatment.

Some of the barriers can be denial, fear, shame, and trauma, which can prevent females from honestly looking at their addiction. They carry a huge fear of losing their children. Have feelings of being unworthy of help and support and blame themselves a lot of the time.

When mothers with responsibilities become involved with drugs/alcohol they face a level of stigmatisation that men do not. since it is assumed that they are more family orientated than men, it is seen as a betrayal to their loved ones. Their actions run contrary to societies expectations.

Their addiction often becomes hidden from family members, partners and anyone who cares about them. They try to continue and make things seem as normal as possible.

Women may not know where to find the right support, as there is a dearth of female specific services. They feel if they disrupt their family’s normal routines, they may be branded a ‘bad’ mother. Societal views contribute to their feelings of powerlessness and make them feel disrespected and less than.

Our women’s treatment program here at Addictions North East is designed to meet the specific needs of our female clients.

We will support them to address several issues, including abuse, violence, trauma, parenting concerns, building family relationships, self-esteem, and confidence, regaining parental responsibilities if children are in the care system.

We take a holistic approach for our female clients and each person is unique in the support they receive. We have group therapy, one to one sessions. Women only groups specific to evenings which are delivered online, this is so times can fit with childcare. We join groups in the community as part of our reintegration program.

Addictions North East hope to develop further work around the needs of women and to establish a Women’s Advisory Group to shape the policies, practices and protocols of our women only work.