Social stigma keeps women from seeking help for addictions

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SOCIAL stigmatisation is preventing women with additions from asking for help, says a new Spanish study released in time for the International Day Against Drug Abuse (June 26).
The inclusion of women in detoxification programmes could be improved, according to the report carried out by the Proyecto Hombre association, supported by the La Caixa Social Project and the National Plan against Drugs, which reports that women find it more difficult than men when asking for help to combat an addition.
Out of the 10,508 people assisted by the detox method of Proyecto Hombre in 2014, only 15.3 per cent were women. The report accredits these figures to the many obstacles faced by women when accessing resources, such as an increased social stigmatisation and the family responsibilities which work as an anchor.
The women who do take the step and reach out are on average two years older than men (38 as opposed to 36 on average for men), and have a history marked by abuse, be it psychological, physical or sexual.
In terms of substance use, excessive alcohol consumption is the main reason for women to enter a detoxification treatment (29 per cent of the cases), while for men the main substance continues to be cocaine (31.4 per cent).
The study describes a kind of addition strongly linked with abuse: 58.1 per cent of women who sought help had experienced emotional abuse such as continued insults. The percentage of women who had been physically attacked was 46.6 per cent and those who had gone through sexual assault was 23.3 per cent.
Proyecto Hombre suggests furthering the research on causes which could represent obstacles for women to seek detox treatments.

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