Drug rehab programs commonly treat men who identify themselves as being in a midlife crisis; however, women in their 40’s are susceptible to the same exact issues as men. Unfortunately, women tend to seek addiction treatment less often than their male counterparts. In addition, women have the tendency to internalize stress and deal with uncomfortable emotions by simply “putting on a good face” for their friends, family, aging parents and significant others. Initiating factors that may contribute to a women’s midlife crisis are:
- Feeling that career or family goals have not been achieved.
- Stress from managing a career, and being a full time wife and mom.
- A series of losses such as the death of parents, a divorce or grown children leaving the home.
- Hormonal and body changes.
- Feeling empty, lost and unsatisfied.
What researchers have found is that women will often use gambling, alcohol and food restriction to compensate for unwanted feelings during their 40’s. Stephan Arndt, PhD at University of Iowa commented that, “Women feel more ashamed of their problems then men, and older women even more so. However once in treatment they encounter women just like themselves”. The stigma that a woman should be able to manage her ever-changing role with no interference may need to be reevaluated. An addiction treatment facility, with a specialized program for women, can identify the main reasons women in their 40’s become addicts and develop specific treatment plans for their addiction. Specialized treatment techniques such as hormonal assessment, similar age group counseling, and individualized counseling to address the specific needs of women should be included in any respectable drug rehab program.