Costa Mesa, CA; 22, August 2015: The internationally known recovery center New Directions for Women has announced a new information page for mature women entering recovery. The page helps mature women, who often face unique symptoms as a result of their addiction, better understand the challenges they face and the solutions which are available to them.
"Two years of using drug or alcohol for women often produces the same amount of harm as ten years of using it by a man," states New Directions for Women. This means that finding effective treatment is particularly crucial for mature women with a substance use disorder.
The phenomenon is known as telescoping, and it occurs in many different aspects of life. For example, women develop liver cirrhosis at twice the rate than men. Women also see an earlier onset for Korsakoff syndrome, which often occurs at a much younger age in women than it does for men. This means women enter treatment younger and tend to be more physically ill.
When mature women enter treatment, therefore, the assessment process needs to evaluate not just the visible physical issues but also their emotional as well as spiritual well-being. The assessment process can be and often must be much longer, spanning weeks or even months to simply evaluate the severity of the illness.
Why is this? The reason is treatment professionals can't know in advance whether the physical problems the patient faces will be exacerbated when she enters detox or goes through withdrawal. The substances she's using might be masking the severe physical effects of an addiction.
Denial can also be particularly severe for mature women and women going through the aging process. Due to her physical complications, she's unable to see her illness at all. Family members may be frustrated because the patient is simply and honestly not able to see that she is ill. Often, mature women have cognitive issues relating to their substance use. The treatment professionals at New Directions understand denial is a part of the disease, and that mature women who have not experienced any or any prolonged recovery periods during their life will experience a higher sense of denial.
Baby boomer issues
The generational gap can also play a role for mature women, and often makes it vitally important they get treatment on a gender-separate basis. This relates to the time period in which they grew up -- most mature women going through treatment belong to the "baby boomer" generation. They grew up at a time when men and women occupied set roles. Much of the psychological issues and trauma which may be fuelling their addiction often relate the social expectations they experienced and were born into. Without a gender-separate environment, confronting these issues is very hard.
About New Directions for Women:
New Directions is a holistic, non profit recovery facility for women of all ages based in Costa Mesa, California. They have more than 30 years of experience helping women recover from drug and alcohol addiction.