The old thinking that chemical dependency was somehow related to only a certain group of people is now known to be false. We know today that drug abuse and addiction can be a problem amongst all groups of people. There is no one type of individual who succumbs to abusing drugs or alcohol, but all ages, all races and social groupings can fall prey to drug abuse. Drug addiction can effect anyone and it’s precisely because of this that each individuals unique needs must be catered for with specialised drug addiction treatment.
There is no single rehabilitation that will cater to everyone, but the more specialised the drug addiction treatment is, the better individuals will respond to treatment. Specialised Needs of Women in Drug Addiction Treatment It is not only the gender issue which needs to be addressed when treating women with drug addiction, but the social and environmental factors around women need to be assessed too. Apart from the actual drug addiction that is challenged, other facets also need to be taken into consideration. Research has shown that in up to 70% of cases of substance abuse with women there has been a history of physical or sexual trauma, which is higher than the statistics with men, so drug addiction treatment needs to deal effectively with those emotional scars. Other issues that women have to think about are pregnancy, child care and financial independence. Interestingly, statistics also show that women are more likely to report a history of their parents abusing drugs or alcohol. Generally, women using drugs have little confidence and low self-esteem. Add to this the many cultural barriers which seem to hold women back, and we find that many women are too afraid to seek help for their drug addiction problem. They are scared of losing their kids, scared of their partner’s reactions, and they are scared of punishment from the authorities or their community. In some cases their partners also abuse drugs and even got them started.
Some of the health risks associated with drug abuse in women are: poor nutrition and weight loss; depression, low self-esteem, physical abuse, pregnancy complications, medical conditions like high blood pressure and infectious diseases such as STD’s, Hepatitis and HIV/AIDS. Drug addiction rehabilitation for women generally needs to incorporate basic needs as well as some comprehensive services such as food, clothing and shelter; transport; career counselling and training; legal help; educational opportunities; parenting courses; family therapy; medical help; child care; social services; psychological care; assertiveness training and family planning services. Women also seem to find the continuing relationship with a treatment provider more beneficial and desperately need the support and encouragement of the community and their friends and family. Unique Needs of Teenagers in Drug Addiction Treatment Substance abuse is common in young adulthood, a period of life which is already fraught with challenges. Huge life tasks are at hand such as leaving parents, choosing a career and possibly meeting a life partner. Drug addiction often causes teens to miss out on these important life decisions. Sometimes life’s curve-balls add to the pressure on teens already, like a divorce in the family, dropping out of college or a heartbreak and may affect them more seriously than realised.
Teens have unique needs during addiction treatment due to their different developmental stages in terms of social and neurological processes. During early adulthood there is a developmental shift where the young adult moves from impulse to a more reflective behaviour. This is a stage where the human brain is still developing, so treatment at a registered centre is advised as soon as possible as drug addiction can permanently damage the brain. Teen drug abuse is often associated with other disorders such as ADHD, oppositional defiant disorder, depression and anxiety disorders. Undiagnosed learning disorders may have caused problems at school and thus low self-esteem, anxiety and depression. If the young adult gets properly diagnosed and helped, then depression and low self-esteem may clear up and help them with giving up their addiction. During this developmental stage there may also be physical, sexual abuse or victimization which also needs to be treated. Due to the sensitivity of adolescents, their peers and families can be extremely influential so it is imperative that they are included in addiction treatment in a positive way.
Peer group treatment seems to work best for teenagers where age appropriate techniques are used and the peer pressure is channeled in a positive way. A teen’s aftercare is vital as they need parental and family support more than any other group. It is essential that they remain as far away from their drug using peers as possible. A drug-free social scene is a necessity. Support groups should be age related too. Unique Needs of Older People in Drug Addiction Treatment There is a danger of an increase of older people being addicted to substances due to the aging of the baby boomer generation who have had a greater history of lifetime drug use than previous generations. Drug abuse problems in older adults have often been unrecognised and thus untreated; however things are changing with addiction treatment centre’s now focusing on this age group as well. Many older adults are professionals and have unique challenges to deal with in their rehabilitation. For example some of the signs of addiction are confused with signs of age. Examples of this would be memory loss, confusion and perhaps physical ailments. Addiction treatment for older adults is generally more medically intense than treatment for youth and can be more dangerous, therefore detox facilities need to be more focused. Social and psychological withdrawal is also very challenging and behavioural changes can be very strenuous.
Changing long term habits, the avoidance of admitting to the problem, psychological issues of depression, loss and isolation, and the stubborn resistance to help from family or caregivers all have the potential to complicate effective addiction treatment. Drug addiction rehab for older people needs to include non-confrontational treatment that focuses on building self-esteem; helping the patient to deal with depression, loss and loneliness; focus on establishing or rebuilding a social support group; slower pace and content of treatment which is age appropriate; staff who are experienced with older patients; medical supervision; access to health care and housing; involvement in community activities and help with independent living. Although older people face unique difficulties, as with each group, there is always hope for recovery and a full life once specialised drug addiction treatment can be provided. More and more drug addiction treatment programs recognise the need for unique treatment for the addict, regardless of which group they fall into. The important thing is to seek help and support and do something about the addiction ASAP. For help or guidance as to which specialised drug addiction treatment programs are best suited to your needs please feel free to contact one of our rehab coordinators for advice. Call us now to speak to a trained addictions counsellor about which rehab may work for you.