Powerful feelings of shame and guilt deter women from seeking help for addiction, even when their lives depend on it. 

So it’s important to work with addiction professionals who know how to get the client to be accountable without fault-finding or judgment. The old, break-them-down-to-build-them-up approach doesn’t work because many women already feel broken by the time they reach treatment.

 Instead, relationships are an important motivator for women in treatment. Women want to belong and feel connected with others.

In treatment and ongoing recovery women’s and men’s needs are different. Women may need to work on self-reliance instead of reliance on others; a program of action versus a program of feelings; empowerment versus compliance; learning to trust self versus blindly trusting others; learning to respect self and care for self versus focusing care on others. While surrender is part of recovery, learning to question things may be a sign of recovery for women.

Early Recovery Issues are Different

Because of being wired differently than men, both in the brain and in the need for connection, as well as physiologically, early recovery issues are different. 

The same reasons that led women to start using may lead them back to the chemicals. Issues such as food/body concerns, relieving stress or boredom, improving mood (mental health concerns), reducing sexual inhibitions and intimacy concerns, self-medicating depression, anxiety, pain or sleep issues; and increasing self-esteem can be relapse concerns.

Individual high-risk situations can include cravings, beginning or ending romantic relationships, physical pain, spending time alone, hormonal changes, high stress periods or after periods of stress (the aftermath of resentment), milestones in recovery (“I did it!”), anniversary “freakies” (scared of getting that one year), complacency, and boredom.

Women Recover from Addiction Differently than Men

Recovery often happens fast for women. Recovery is natural for women. That’s because women are wired for relationships, and recovery from addiction starts with connection. The female brain is very different from the male brain, and it starts in utero with the communication centers being different. 

Women are wired for connection and many women take their worth from the quality of their relationship. Addiction is an extremely isolating condition. 

Women lose themselves and their most important relationships to addiction. Much of the healing process of recovery revolves around connecting with others who share the struggle.

Serene Rehabilitation Centre provides a safe haven, proper guidance and treatment to get you back to your normal self.

Visit Serene Rehabilitation Centre today in Karen, Nairobi.

Denis Mugambi

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