Alcoholism and Women – The Hidden Disease
On this Mother’s Day, ABC News 20/20 interviews The Orchid Recovery Center and looks at the darker side of an illness shrouded in shame and secrecy.
– On Friday April 30th, just in time for this Mother’s Day, the Orchid Recovery Center will be featured on ABC News 20/20 as part of a news story tackling women and alcoholism. It is a dark subject that has come to the attention of the public following the tragedy involving the Long Island mother who drove her minivan the wrong way down a suburban parkway before crashing in a wreck that killed eight people.
According to the prosecutor, the woman “was drunk and high on marijuana at the time of the accident.” Her 2-year-old daughter and three young nieces died and three others killing a total of 8, in the July 26 crash. Most puzzling was her husband’s reaction to news of the crash, claiming that he was “completely unaware of his wife’s drinking problem,’ and that “it couldn’t be,’ the public cried foul in disbelief. But research demonstrates, ‘he may have been telling the truth and really be unaware of her disease,’ says Julie Queler, CEO of The Orchid, adding, “Alcoholism is the hidden disease and women become quite skillful at hiding it from their closest partner.”
Looking for the Signs of Hidden Alcoholism
Because women who are suffering from hidden alcoholism are highly unlikely to admit that they have a problem (or seek professional help on their own accord) it is absolutely imperative that friends and family members become familiar with the signs and symptoms of this insidious disease.
The classic symptoms of alcoholism in women are:
- Suddenly poor performance at work or school
- Drinking at socially unacceptable times throughout the day
- Disappearing without warning for stretches of time
- Chronic illness (hangovers)
- Strong alcohol cravings
- Irritability and moodiness
Counseling and Hidden Alcoholism
Once a woman is lucky enough to enter into a professional alcohol rehabilitation program, she will need to take part in the various counseling programs offered at the facility. Hidden alcoholism counseling helps treat the condition at the core by addressing the “triggers” that have led to the unwanted behavior. Women are given more positive ways to respond to these stressors – and learn the decision-making skills required to achieve and maintain sobriety.
However, simply knowing that someone cares and understands their pain can lead to amazing breakthroughs.
Why Does The Orchid Offers Gender-Specific Alcohol Addiction Treatment
After years of neglect from the research community, a number of studies in recent years focused on finding the most effective way to treat women who drink compulsively. What these studies found is that women respond more positively to gender-specific alcohol addiction treatment – especially when it takes place exclusively in the presence of other women. Women in these gender specific programs, such as at The Orchid, felt safer, thereby making them more comfortable and open to treatment. They also formed support structures with other women in the treatment center – which in turn greatly enhanced the recovery process, which for many up to entering the program, has only been a dream.
As the Orchid’s Executive Director, Julie makes that dream a reality every day by utilizing the groundbreaking research of Dr. Karen Dodge as the bedrock of The Orchid’s treatment ideology. Dr. Dodge’s philosophy of “relational growth” enables personal growth in women through strong support groups and interdependence within those groups. Currently, there is no other treatment program that focuses exclusively on women and utilizes this amazing modality for overcoming addiction.
For more information, or to schedule an interview with Julie Queler, contact Anne Howard at [email protected], or call her at 415 830 3968, Skype anerprn.
For scheduling information, go to ABC News 20/20, http://abcnews.go.com/2020/
About The Orchid:
The Orchid is a drug and alcohol rehab facility located in South Florida that is specifically geared to the needs of women afflicted with addiction and unresolved trauma. The Orchid was founded to meet the needs of women that were not being addressed by the recovery community. The Orchid holds the belief that substance abuse in women has a cause, a progress and a societal perception different than that of men. Specifically women addicts are more likely to have poor self concepts of guilt and blame, and mental health problems than male addicts. Furthermore, they are more likely than men to let social stigma, labeling and guilt prevent them from seeking help.