Bangor woman who escaped a life of drug addiction and violence pays tribute to life changing therapy programme Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board

Explains how family therapy sessions are run and who conducts them, describes a typical session, and provides information on its effectiveness in recovery. This is an organisation that works with people affected by drug and alcohol misuse, mental health problems and learning disabilities. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence also say that you should not be turned away from mental health services because you have a drug or alcohol problem. Help Me Stop is the UK’s most affordable, accessible, intensive Dayhab treatment centre.

An expert at the Global Drugs Survey feels men can often exhibit reckless, risk-taking behaviour, which can play a pivotal role. Men overall are more prone to accidents, have less healthy lifestyles than women and do not live as long. If you look at unfortunate cases when substance abuse requires treatment in a secure setting, the findings are quite unexpected. They reveal it is girls, aged 15 years and under, who have a greater chance of receiving treatment.

  • If you have responsibilities that prevent you from entering a live-in facility, or you would simply prefer not to, there are even rehabilitation programmes available online.
  • The lived body is an embodied self that “lives and breathes, perceives and acts, speaks and reasons” [, p. 6].
  • For most women, the reproductive lifecycle is one of the biological conditions that distinguishes their bodily experiences from men.
  • By comparing pathways into and out of drug use for men and women, the researchers argue that gender-based assumptions miss factors that could be significant, such as sexual orientation, age, socioeconomic status and ethnicity.
  • This gives each woman a chance to open up and share insights with other women facing the same struggles, such as drug cravings, anxiety, fears and issues with self-esteem.
  • Intoxication and withdrawal represent the most common substance-related disorders.

However, because of the biological and social differences between men and women, the experiences women have with drugs and alcohol can be very different to the experiences men have, even if they are using the same substances. Though costs may appear high, they may be justified if future research demonstrates the service works and street sex workers reduce their drug use. This could lead to them using health services and the criminal justice system less, and reduce the impact of criminal and anti-social activity on wider society. To avoid stigma, we offered a female staffed street sex worker-only drug treatment group in a sex worker only environment instead of usual drug service settings. Trauma was addressed by referring women to AWP for PTSD screening once their drug use was more stabilised. If they were diagnosed with PTSD, they were offered treatment for this as well.

This could also reflect a practical issue in which they do not want to, or are unable to, manage the process of attending AOD treatment services in the context of ongoing substance use and homelessness reported by some of our participants. In these instances, participants felt they were at the “bottom” of the to-do list; this may potentially reflect the circumstances of other women in similar situation being “too busy” to attend treatment. Once detected, substance abuse during pregnancy confronts the physician with issues regarding treatment, management, and maternal and fetal complications. Some would describe pregnancy as a “treatable moment” for mothers who use and abuse substances. Women remain under-represented in addiction treatment, comprising less than a third of clients in treatment services.

Kneck et al.’s study exploring women who experienced homelessness engagement with health services in Sweden is one exception . They identified three themes which underscored these women’s capacity to access services. Firstly, a demand for a life in order, considered the conditional nature of health care access for this cohort and the requirement for women to have a suitably stable lifestyle. Secondly, the theme of being unwell, unsafe and a woman, explored the multifaceted needs of women as a challenge to the health care system.

Which substances can affect my mental health?

Saffron has now been clean for almost two years and she has learnt to build ‘anchor points’ in her life to help her remain abstinent. These have included repairing her relationship with her children and wider family, as well as attending a creative writing course, boxercise classes and writing poetry. Driven by the ongoing pain of losing her children, Saffron mustered the courage to leave her old life behind and get clean.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence produces guidance for the NHS and other organisations responsible for people’s health and care. They say that people who have a severe mental illness and drug or alcohol problem should get help under the Care Programme Approach . The CPA is a framework that the NHS uses to plan someone’s long-term care. Sources say there is still a stigma and a great shame over women abusing drugs, according to findings. What’s more, other social considerations such as motherhood, pregnancy and reported reduced access to drugs, as well as statistically reduced criminal behaviour, may partly explain the difference between the number of males and females taking drugs.

women drug addiction

Studies focusing on targeted groups of prisoners were also excluded. The aim was to assess levels of treatment needed for prisons’ general populations. Rehabilitation should have given you the tools you need to process these triggers without relapsing. If this proves difficult, you will usually have retained some contacts at the rehab centre whom you can reach out to. Rehab centres take a holistic approach to your recovery and aim to rebuild your confidence, improve your resilience, and restore balance to your life.


Protecting your mental health should be a life-goal, and seeking out help for mental health issues could be the most important decision you ever make. Offer an extended trauma therapy programme, including extended stabilisation therapy before treatment, to recognise the complexity of street sex workers’ needs. Hold regular service provider meetings throughout the study to enable staff to raise concerns, understand how the other services are managing issues and provide multi-agency support for participants.

  • At least seven women had been prescribed anti-depressants for decades.
  • Practitioners could build on women’s emerging and growing sense of worth and motivation for improving self-care by acknowledging and paying attention to the women’s own understanding of their bodies and health.
  • Your doctor should not judge you and should not tell other people you use drugs.
  • These are described below, with some accompanying quotations from theOPDPproject interviews.

This paper’s aim is to pay attention to the voices of women ageing into recovery and provide a deeper understanding of their experiences of drug-free and ageing bodies. This paper specifically focuses on women’s experiences of bodily recovery from unmanageable substance use. Our experiences with the focus group also reflect suggestions that a person-centered approach to care and the engagement of the user in treatment services at every level is crucial. Paying attention to the women’s voices we hear how the body and health in recovery involves much more than abstinence from drugs.


It can make the feelings of some mental health issues feel worse. This section explains how using drugs and alcohol can affect your mental health. It also explains how you can get help to stop using drugs and alcohol. In this section, ‘drugs’ means recreational drugs, alcohol, eco sober house complaints or prescription drugs. When someone with a mental illness also uses drugs, doctors call this ‘dual diagnosis’ or ‘co-occurring diagnosis’. Unlike many traditional programmes, Moving On has been developed with service users based on what worked for them in recovery.

The long-term effects of alcohol also depend on how much you drink, and how regularly you drink it. If you drink too much on a regular basis then you could cause yourself serious physical and mental harm. It can be a symptom of mental illness and can also be a short-term effect of some drugs. A person’s sexuality can also be an important factor, where sources say gay men tend to imbibe illegal drugs more than gay women.

Experiences of treatment and recovery from SUD can also differ across gender . Pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood are regularly reported as factors preventing women from accessing AOD treatment (35–38). Women are also at an elevated risk of experiencing co-occurring mental health or personality disorders in comparison to men (39–42).

Why are drug-related deaths among women increasing in Scotland? – full report

Being in a rehab centre means that you have a guide along the way, who keeps an eye on your progress and encourages you onto the next steps. These can all be accessed either as outpatient weekly sessions, or as part of a live-in rehabilitation programme. Organisations that focus on helping women with addiction, such as Women for Sobriety, were established to create safe spaces that are catered to women’s needs. In this section, we help explain what the alcohol rehab process entails, and how we can assist you or a loved one select rehab that’s best suited to your needs. Support and encourage women to attend by providing transport and refreshments before treatment sessions.

  • “My addiction was a full time job, so I treat my recovery the same, because without recovery I have nothing,” she explained.
  • Three female residents in Castle Craig’s Serenity House talk about how women’s therapy has helped them open up more in therapy sessions.
  • In this section, we provide help and advice around the topic of mental health.
  • The women’s experiences are singularly personal to them, yet taken together they offer deeper understanding of the bodily experiences that shape their health as they transition into and through recovery.
  • The authors wish to acknowledge the women who shared their experiences with us, and the housing service workers who support them.
  • They provide information and selfhelp materials for callers worried about their own drinking, and to support the family and friends of people who are drinking.

However, the name is now wrong, because since 2016 they have been made illegal. You can find more information about ‘Cannabis and mental health’ by clicking here. “I’ve had broken ribs, a broken arm and many scars where I’ve been bitten and cut. I was in constant physical pain and I’d wake up in the night gasping for breath.

The first author checked a sample of five transcripts against the recorded data for quality control to ensure their accuracy. In addition, 17 participants were given the opportunity to read through their transcripts. Two participants did not have an opportunity to check their transcript as there was no way to contact them without going through a third person. Maintaining their confidentiality was crucial and as such their transcripts were not forwarded. Of the 17 who were given the opportunity to read and check their transcripts, 12 took up the offer and five responded positively.

Immediately, we could see that women are approximately half as likely as men to develop a substance abuse disorder, but are more likely to seek immediate medical help. Paradoxically, they’re also more likely to overdose when abusing substances. Alarmingly, decades of research into addiction and substance abuse was oriented almost entirely towards men.